Dark skies forecast
Lighting ordinance soon to go into effect
By GREG STAHL
Express Staff Writer
And Ketchums city officials said, "Let there be darkness."
Ketchums business owners have three and a half months to come into
conformance with the citys new dark sky ordinance, and the city itself is setting an
Idaho Power, the valleys electricity provider, is working with the
city to change city streetlight fixtures, bringing them into conformance with the
Two weeks ago, three streetlightsat the corner of Fifth Street and
East Avenue, Fifth Street and Walnut Avenue and one in front of the Charles Stuhlberg
Gallery on East Avenuewere changed to conform to the new measure.
Their formerly round lenses were replaced with flat ones, and the bulbs,
which are recessed in the light fixtures heads, can now only shine downward. Such
lights are called "full cutoff."
Ketchum city administrator Jim Jaquet said in an interview that the city
is waiting for information regarding cost of the fixtures. Until estimates arrive, he
said, he wont know the time required to change all the citys lights.
The dark sky ordinance, adopted last June 30, after six months of city
hearings, mandates that commercial property owners come into conformance with the new law
within one year of its adoption date. Residential property owners have two years.
The dark sky ordinance is designed to protect city residents and visitors
from glare and excessive lighting, while providing nighttime safety.
It requires outdoor lights to be shielded and holds lights to a 25-foot
height limit. Architect-inspired landscape and skyward lighting are prohibited.
"By getting the streetlights in compliance, and the commercial lights
into compliance, youll have the majority of the offensive light taken care of,"
Jaquet said. "The light that is the high intensity light, by and large, comes from
commercial, streetlights and private security lights."
Private security lights are not to be confused with home motion sensor
lights, which are exempted in the ordinance.
If Ketchum businesses or property owners are found to be in violation of
the dark sky ordinance, a warning will be issued. If, after 30 days, property owners do
not comply, they can be fined $100.
Blaine County, Hailey and the city of Sun Valley have also begun to work
on dark sky ordinances.