The Sun Valley City Council discussed an ordinance on Thursday that would require exterior light fixtures within the city to come into compliance with the International Dark Sky Association’s Model Lighting by 2025.
“I have some very, what I would consider substantial, concerns about this whole thing,” Councilman Keith Saks said during Thursday’s meeting.
Saks said the ordinance feels rushed and that it could create legal woes for the city if it doesn’t allow current lighting on private property to be grandfathered in.
“I would find it very hard to vote in favor of this ordinance, at least at this time, without a legal opinion from our city attorney that we are not putting ourselves in possible legal jeopardy by passing such an ordinance,” Saks said.
Saks also said he was concerned about burdening property owners with the cost of changing their outdoor light fixtures to comply with the ordinance.
“I am very concerned about homeowner reaction to this,” he said.
Councilwoman Jane Conard said the city should consider the ordinance, given that Sun Valley is a tourism-based economy and many travel to the region to enjoy the dark sky reserve.
Though the ordinance sets the lighting as a requirement, there is no “heavy-handed” penalty for not complying, Conard noted.
“The city of Sun Valley should be a leader,” she said. “I think it’s a good thing for our community.”
The council opted to do the first reading of the ordinance after no comments from the public were received, with all except Saks in favor, and will continue the discussion on the matter at a later meeting.
Draft budget moves forward
The council also completed its first reading of the city’s fiscal 2021 budget last week, after no public comment was received regarding the $8.5 million budget, a 5 percent decrease from the 2020 budget.
Council members will meet two more times in the next week to complete the budgetary reading process before finalizing the budget, which will take effect Oct. 1.