Night Sky Lights Up During Spring in the Emerald Counties
Complaints about this practice are so prevalent, Humboldt Supervisor Estelle Fennell posted on April 21 the following information on her Facebook page,
I have received several complaints about lights from greenhouses at nighttime. Please be aware that this is against Humboldt County’s regulations and can result in serious penalties. Here’s the code:
Performance Standards for Mixed-Light Cultivation:
- v) Those cultivators using artificial lighting for mixed-light cultivation shall shield greenhouses so that little to no light escapes. Light shall not escape at a level that is visible from neighboring properties between sunset and sunrise.
- w) The light source should comply with the International Dark Sky Association standards for Lighting Zone 0 and Lighting Zone 1, and be designed to regulate light spillage onto neighboring properties resulting from backlight, uplight, or glare (BUG). Should the Humboldt County Planning Division receive complaints that the lighting is out of alignment or not complying with these standards, within ten (10) working days of receiving written notification that a complaint has been filed, the applicant shall submit written verification that the lights’ shielding and alignment has been repaired, inspected and corrected as necessary.
Concerns about the lights vary. Most are worried about environmental issues ranging from this creating problems for animals that are nocturnal hunters to preserving dark night skies for star viewing. Others are concerned about lights shining in their homes and generators disturbing the peace. Still, others worry that the lights are a frequent source of false fire reports as many can look like wildfires even to experienced firefighters. Resources of rural fire departments are strained trying to track down whether these are real fires or simply greenhouse lights.
Several commenters in various places on social media have noted that the light provides a beacon to ripoffs and have expressed astonishment that the owners of the buildings don’t cover them.
There are some commenters though who decry photos that show the lights saying they could cause thieves or law enforcement to locate the grows.
*Thanks to Christina Lombardi who allowed us to use her beautiful Milky Way photo to illustrate an issue of concern in the rural hills of the Emerald Counties.
More on greenhouses lighting up the night sky in an earlier story: In Defense of the Stars: The Use of “Mixed-light” Greenhouses Is Changing our Night Skies and May Be Altering our Nocturnal Ecology The below photo is from that story.