Title: Winthrop Proposes Dark-Sky Ordinance
Summary: If you would like to preserve the dark of night in our little corner of the world
"PLEASE ACT NOW".
The Winthrop Town Council has approved, in principal, an 'Outdoor Lighting and Dark Sky Proposal' as presented at their latest town council meeting.
The basis of that presentation was a document brought to the Winthrop Planning Committee by the Methow Dark Sky Coalition in June of 2019. In the 18 months since, that document has been heavily re-written (dare I say, "watered down") by the town planners.
HERE IS WHAT YOU CAN DO: Please look at the new ordinance, compare it to our original proposal, and RESPOND.
Let us know your comments. Specifics. Changes in language. Changes in purpose.....
We will submit your responses to the Town Council once the 'public comment' period opens for this new ordinance.
Our goal is to protect our beautiful night sky, so that you, your children, and your children's children may enjoy the cosmos for the rest of your lives. Our method is to help local communities attain certified Dark Sky Community status, as granted by the International Dark Sky Association (IDSA). Their rules and suggested ordinances are simple, easy to follow, not expensive, and serve to limit, over time, the number of extraneous lights pointed up into the sky that serve no purpose here on Earth except to occlude our view of the stars.
Winthrop is our first step. Next comes Twisp. Then the western half of Okanogan County, and finally, with the approval of certain branches of the US government, we intend to consolidate all that with portions of the Pasayten Wilderness to create the largest 'Dark Sky Reserve' in the continental US.
In the end, working together, we will have accomplished something extraordinary.
Right now we are asking for your help with "Step 1". Please read the documents referenced below and reply to KYRIE.
President, METHOW DARK SKY ALLIANCE
METHOW DARK SKY POSITION
We seek full IDSA compliance, not partial compliance, nor "dark-sky-lite." Here are our reasons:
(1) Full compliance is not difficult, complicated, or expensive,
(2) IDS guidelines are naturally "phased-in," giving homeowners up to ten
years to fix pesky porch lights,
(3) IDS guidelines control ALL light sources, including municipal sources,
which are a big issue in our community, and
(4) Our tourist industry would benefit greatly from official "Dark Sky"
The Town of Winthrop would be better served by first deciding that it wishes to become a "Dark Sky" community and then passing the necessary ordinances, rather than proposing a piecemeal collection of legislative bullet points that are already being picked apart and watered down by local constituencies.
Link to DOCUMENTS
1. Proposed ordinance from the Winthrop Town Planning Committee (3/11/2021)
2. Proposed ordinance from the Methow Dark Sky Coalition, written based on
"International Dark Sky Association" (IDSA) guidelines (9/1/2019)
3. Article by Don Nelson (thank you Don), Methow Valley News, (3/10/2021)
Every light on the planet affects our view of the stars.