SEASIDE — In Seaside, shining a light is allowed, but shining a light in someone else's space could be declared a public nuisance.

The Seaside City Council Monday night took the first steps in approving an outdoor lighting ordinance regulating exterior light fixtures.

To illuminate the problem, Planning Director Kevin Cupples demonstrated why the planning commission recommended that the council approve the ordinance.

Cupples turned on a bright desk lamp that he had with him. The glare blinded several city councilors. But when he put the bulb inside a hole cut into a box, the glare was redirected to the floor.

“This may be fifth-grade science, maybe third-grade science,” Cupples said.

The ordinance isn't meant to prohibit outdoor lighting on a person's property, he added, it's meant to control lighting on adjacent properties.

In an attempt to establish “dark sky” provisions that will, in time, make the night sky more visible throughout the city and enhance livability, the council unanimously agreed to approve the first and second reading of the ordinance. It will become final with the third reading at the council's next meeting Aug. 5.

The ordinance will require exterior lights to have translucent covers that eliminate glare or shielding that prevents direct light to shine beyond the property limits where the fixture is installed.

Laser source lights or high intensity lights will be prohibited. Unless they are used for public safety or emergencies, searchlights also will be banned.

However, outdoor fixtures installed prior to the ordinance's effective date will be allowed, but if they are directed onto other properties, they could be declared a nuisance.

Lighting or airport operations and aircraft navigational beacons are exempt from the ordinance's regulations, as well as holiday decorations, if the lights are less than 15 watts. Also allowed are temporary lights from carnivals or special events for up to five days a year.

Although the planning commission, which developed the ordinance, wrestled with regulations involving lighting for U.S. flags that are displayed at night, it decided to exempt such lighting from the new requirements.

Lights installed on public property or in public right-of-ways also must “aspire to use dark sky compliant fixtures,” including recessed lighting or indirect sources “wherever practical.”

Fixtures containing up to 450- lumens will be accepted. These include 40 watt standard incandescent bulbs, 11-watt cool white fluorescent, 11 watt compact fluorescent and an eight-watt high efficiency LED accent light.

In other business, the council honored Roy Kirkham, who has organized the annual Fourth of July parade on behalf of the Seaside Historical Museum and Society for 25 years. Kirkham is “retiring” from the volunteer position.

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