For the week of June 9, 1999  thru June 15, 1999  

Scrooge in June?

The Ketchum City Council should be careful not to become Scrooge in June.

The council is considering an ordinance that would protect the area’s night skies by limiting certain types of lighting. However, as drafted the ordinance could eliminate a lot of Christmas holiday lighting.

Granted, many local businesses have gone overboard on the popular icicle lighting, many keeping the strings of white lights illuminated all year. On the other hand, holiday lighting is attractive during the deep, deep darkness of December.

The middle ground on this one is obvious. The council could prohibit certain kinds of holiday lighting except during the month of December

Ketchum already restricts lighting businesses may use. Holiday lights have been an obvious way around the ban on internally lighted and neon signs. The holiday lights are an attractive loophole.

The city should protect the starry night skies from being obliterated by street lighting and upwardly lighted landscaping, which is a waste of energy and just as objectionable as internally lighted plastic signs.

Ketchum can try to restrict holiday lights if it wishes, but the restriction is unlikely to be enforced. The city has a policy of not enforcing ordinance violations unless someone complains to the city. Who would complain about holiday lights? Which city official would remove holiday lights?

Let’s hope we won’t have to find out. The City Council should consult Ebenezer on this one and then it will know what to do.


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