Natural Resources Element (Public Hearing Draft, 5/1/13)
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General Plan > Elements > Natural Resources Element > Dark Skies
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Dark Skies

A dark sky is the night sky with minimal light impact from urban land uses or structures. Light intrusion into the night sky obstructs views of astrological features, has been shown to disrupt animal behavior and natural plant cycles, and negatively impact human health. Focusing lights where they are needed reduces light glare and light pollution, allowing the sky to be observed and enjoyed in a more natural state. Furthermore, strategies to reduce light impacts can also help conserve energy, lower energy costs and improve safety.

San Clemente’s night skies benefit from being surrounded by areas and uses which emit little or no light: the Pacific Ocean, Camp Pendleton and the open space lands to the east. In addition, land uses that generate significant amounts of light pollution, such as shopping centers, are limited and concentrated in only limited areas of the City. The City intends to reduce the level of light pollution from 2013 levels, maintain dark skies and explore opportunities to address light trespass.

GOAL:

Minimize light trespass and pollution caused by public and private structures, new development, and public facilities to ensure safety, protection of the natural environment, and preservation of dark nighttime skies.

POLICIES:

NR-7.01. New Residential Development and Remodeling Projects. We require development projects and substantial remodeling projects to minimize light pollution and trespass while enhancing safety and aesthetics.
NR-7.02. Public Facilities, Buildings and Streets. We use outdoor light shielding measures to minimize light trespass and glare while enhancing safety and aesthetics.
NR-7.03. Commercial and Industrial Buildings. We require that site lighting for commercial and industrial uses be unobtrusive and constructed or located so that only the intended area is illuminated, off-site glare is minimized, and adequate safety is provided.
NR-7.04. Public Education and Outreach. We support programs that provide public education on the importance of dark skies and how to protect them. We collaborate with non-profit and other public agencies to help achieve our goals.

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City of San Clemente
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