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The Daily Tar Heel

Star light, star bright: Carrboro should pass lighting ordinance

The next time a meteor shower or a beautiful starlit sky appears above Carrboro, it might actually be possible to see it.

Carrboro town staff have drafted a new ordinance that would create stricter guidelines for outdoor lighting.

New developments that need permits would be affected by the proposed ordinance. When current lights are replaced, the new lights must abide by the ordinance’s standards.

Lights in subdivisions would need to be properly shielded and aimed at the ground.

The ordinance would also allow the town to issue permits for taller light appliances than the ones currently permissible — offsetting some safety and cost concerns.

The present requirement limits the height of light fixtures to 15 feet.

But the freedom to install higher light poles would help to drastically reduce cost.

Because light is cast farther by taller poles, it would be more economical in some instances to allow for fewer and higher poles to be installed.

The Carrboro Board of Aldermen must pass the ordinance before it can become official — and it should as soon as possible.

The town believes that improper lighting can “interfere with observation of the nighttime sky.”

It can also be inefficient in the use of energy.

Both are solid reasons for the town to pass the ordinance.

The guidelines would be beneficial for Carrboro. Citizens would observe reductions in light pollution and energy consumption.

And the provision that would permit taller light appliances would allow property owners to potentially cut back on installation and energy costs.

The town should take advantage of the opportunity to provide more efficient lighting at a lower cost.

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