Photo courtesy of Illinois Coalition for Responsible Outdoor Lighting
How to talk to your neighbor about a bad light
Flagstaff has pretty good outdoor lighting overall and most people here treasure the glorious dark skies and do their part to preserve them through the use of quality lighting. But not all communities have laws that enforce limits on light trespass or a culture of protecting dark skies.
So what’s the number one complaint that we hear?
“My neighbor has a light that stays on all night and shines right into my bedroom. I don’t want to be a complainer or get on his wrong side, but it drives me crazy!”
The best thing to do is to simply bring it to your neighbor’s attention and offer a constructive alternative. In almost every case the neighbor is unaware that they are causing a problem. Invite your neighbor over to see what it looks like from your house. Tell them they can have the light or visibility they want on their property without shining light onto yours. In most cases, that’s all it takes to convince someone to fix the problem.You could suggest using a different fixture (Residential Lighting Tips) or adding a motion detector. You may even offer to pay for the new fixture! It won’t cost you a lot of money and you will be much happier in the long run.
While you’re at it, look at your own outdoor lighting to see if there are things that you can improve upon. Keep indoor light from trespassing out, too. Close your window blinds at night when you’re using artificial lighting inside.
FDSC has an Stars Up / Lights Down Brochure that you might print and use as guidance and to share.
For Flagstaff and Coconino County Residents
If there is a lighting code complaint that needs attention you may contact the City of Flagstaff Code Compliance Department or Coconino County Zoning Enforcement.