Group seeks to preserve Tahoe’s night sky | SierraSun.com

Group seeks to preserve Tahoe’s night sky

INCLINE VILLAGE (AP) ” A group of Incline Village residents is seeking to reduce lighting in order to ensure the stars continue to shine brightly over Lake Tahoe.

Dr. Paul Guttman, chairman of an Incline Village subcommittee on proposed lighting standards, said most people move to Lake Tahoe to enjoy its natural beauty and its night sky is slowly being ruined by excessive brightness.

Last August, he publicly spoke out against the use of searchlights by organizers of two north shore events: the Lake Tahoe Shakespeare Festival and a boaters’ convention.

“The point is we don’t want to threaten people with regulations,” Guttman told the North Lake Tahoe Bonanza. “We need to educate people, and they have to be willing to learn, which should be easy because it is the easiest form of pollution to correct.”

Gene Brockman, chairman of the Incline Village-Crystal Bay Citizens’ Advisory Board, said some residents oppose such controls because of safety concerns.

“There aren’t a lot of street lights in Incline, and that’s a concern,” he said. “Some people also want lighting around their houses to feel secure.”

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But Guttman called fewer permanent lights and more motion-detecting lights a better solution, saying the latter would be more effective in deterring intruders.

The lighting issue is expected to be discussed at a Feb. 16 meeting co-sponsored by the citizens’ advisory board and Washoe County Comprehensive Planning Department.

At issue is whether there are too many lights and whether there should be regulations as to what angle they can be pointed toward the sky.

In nearby Truckee, Calif., town officials are considering night-sky lighting standards as part of an ongoing update of the town’s development code.

Existing Truckee standards require lights to be shielded, directing light down rather than up or out. Street lights also are restricted to 20 feet or less in height.