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'Dark Sky' Ordinance Proposed for Cascade

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MICHAEL J. BENNETT, CC BY 3.0


In 1999, the city of Ketchum instituted a so-called "dark sky ordinance," limiting exterior lighting on commercial and residential properties. The cities of Hailey and Sun Valley followed suit in 2002 and 2004, respectively, and similar ordinances have since popped up in other Northwest communities, most of them rural.

If stargazers have their way, the city of Cascade may be next in line to consider going "dark."

This week's McCall Star-News reports members of the newly formed Valley County Astronomical Society have approached the Valley County Planning and Zoning Commission to craft a "dark sky" ordinance. The Valley County city of McCall instituted its own "dark sky" ordinance in 2006.

The ordinances ask that all exterior light sources should be "downcast and fully shielded" with exceptions for holiday lights and emergency lighting. Proponents say leaving outdoor lights burning through the night gives a false sense of security, and instead suggest motion sensors or lights on timers.

In the meantime, the new society has scheduled a series of "star parties" to encourage more Valley County residents and visitors to celebrate the best and cheapest show in town.