Bath County Considers Lighting Ordinance To Help Reduce Light Pollution
Warm Springs, VA – Bath County is considering a proposed outdoor lighting ordinance that will apply to business and industrial zoning in the county. Businesses tend to use a lot of lighting and the goal of the ordinance is to have light projected where should be and not projected where it shouldn’t be. Sherry Ryder is Bath County’s Planner and Zoning Administrator.
“If you drive in towards a city, you can see the glow as you approach and you can be miles and miles away,” says Ryder. “That is one thing they are hoping to be able to avoid is being able to see the glare and glow from the lights as you are driving into Hot Springs or Warm Springs. A lot of rural localities are very much promoting dark skies to help us stay with the rural character and not have light glare everywhere.”
The proposed ordinance is a starting point and it seeks to reduce the impacts of glare, light trespass and over lighting. The ordinance addresses parking lot light fixtures, building lights and landscaping lights.
“Right now we don’t have any ordinance, per se, that would give us any guidelines for business or industrial,” says Ryder. “We don’t have it for residential and this does not affect residential property. And at the same time, we wanted to protect the residential properties. Because the way the zoning is in the county we have a lot of residential property that abuts business.”
The Bath County Planning Commission developed the proposed ordinance, approved it and voted to send it on to the Bath Board of Supervisors. At the Planning Commission’s public hearing around six people spoke in support of the ordinance.
The Bath Board of Supervisors will hold a public hearing on the proposed ordinance at it’s next monthly meeting on Tuesday March 13. The Board may adopt the ordinance at that meeting.
“Existing businesses would be grandfathered with the lighting that they have,” says Ryder. “But if they do a remodel or something of that nature, then they would have to look and make it compliant with our lighting ordinance.”
Copies of the proposed outdoor lighting ordinance are available at the Bath Planning and Zoning Office and at the County Administrator’s Office. For more information, contact the Bath Planning and Zoning office at 839-7236.