I attended Colorado State University back in 1975 and I have fond memories of the brilliant night skies once you got away from the light pollution of Fort Collins. Seeing those stars gets more difficult with each coming year and, some residents of Pagosa Springs believes, each coming Walmart. A Walmart parking lot is a brightly lit place, as it should be, for the security of customers, employees and the store itself. The level of light pollution produced, however, can be extremely annoying if you happen to live adjacent to, or across the street from the store. Residents in Pagosa Springs, Colorado are very annoyed. Pagosa Springs Daily Editor Bill Hudson writes in Town Council Set to Hear Walmart Appeal Tomorrow:
Back in the days of the Great Recession — back when Pagosa governments were laying off employees, and local businesses were wondering if they’d be able to remain in business — the world’s largest retail corporation, Wal-Mart Inc., filed a building permit application with the Town of Pagosa Springs, in hopes of opening a 93,000 square foot store in the Aspen Village subdivision, across the highway from Pinon Lake. The application was approved, after considerable public debate and controversy, on August 21, 2012. The store opened officially on April 22, 2015, and many of us have been running our credit cards through the Wal-Mart scanners ever since — while remaining blissfully unaware that something might be amiss with Wal-Mart’s exterior lighting. Before the store had even opened its doors, however, residential neighbors living to the south of the new store had begun to complain about (possibly illegal) lighting glare emanating from numerous light fixtures mounted on and around the building. Petitions and letters were submitted to the Town, suggesting that Wal-Mart Inc. had failed to meet Land Use and Development Code “dark sky” and “light trespass” requirements.Pagosa Springs town council has taken up the challenge:
Due to the challenges with the recently completed Tractor Supply Company Store parking lot lights, prior to the issuance of the WM building permit, the Town Planning Director [James Dickhoff] discussed the proposed LED lighting Fixtures for the parking lot with Mr. Ryan James of Galloway, expressing concern over the visible light source issues the Town experienced at Tractor Supply. Mr. Ryan James expressed that the parking lot light fixtures designated would meet the Town’s standards because of the new lighting technologies being used and the back shields that are used in the actual fixture. The Town Planning Director reminded Mr. Ryan James that the Town would inspect the lights for compliance with the LUDC visible light source regulations once installed. In January 2015, The Planning Director conducted three physical site inspections, specifically to inspect the installed exterior parking lot lights. The Director inspected the installed lighting in accordance with the approved illumination plan, as to location number of pole/fixtures, height of poles and visible light source. During these inspections, the visible light source was determined to be non-complying with the Town’s [Land Use and Development Code] regarding visible light source.Hudson has been covering Walmart in his home much better than most. There's a lot to read there. Jeff Hess: Have Coffee Will Write.