In the 2016 and 2017 General Assembly sessions, Delegate John Bell (Loudoun-87th district) introduced legislation to require Light Emitting Diode (LED) outdoor lighting for all state government entities (the bills did not advance to a full House of Delegates vote either year). While the commitment to energy efficiency is laudable, the proposed legislation failed to incorporate necessary criteria for responsible outdoor lighting in order to prevent the harmful safety, aesthetic, and environmental impacts of low quality LED. The Virginia chapter of the International Dark-Sky Association met with Delegate Bell during the 2016 session and also communicated with his office during the 2017 session, but could not support the final legislation. Virginia IDA issued an action alert to members and supporters asking them to contact members of the committee to which the bill was assigned; there was a strong response and the bill was ‘passed over’ on a voice vote.
The 2017 version of the bill did include some language referencing light pollution and exemption for historic districts, but did not address LED’s unique attributes and specifically failed to incorporate:
1) a 3,000K Color Correlated Temperature limit (“warm” amber light rather than “cold” blue-white light), consistent with the recommendations of the American Medical Association and the standards of the International Dark-Sky Association;
2) encouragement of wireless adaptive control technology, unique to LED lighting, for use only when needed and at appropriately varying light levels; and
3) protections for Dark Sky Parks, proposed Dark Sky Parks, and other natural areas.
Virginia IDA anticipates this legislation returning to the 2018 session and intends to continue working with Delegate Bell to improve the next version of the bill. There may be further action necessary in the second half of 2017. For now, for more background can be found at: http://www.darkvirginiasky.org/2017/02/why-va-ida-opposed-led-outdoor-lighting.html.
Last night the Board of Supervisors voted, against staff recommendations and strong opposition by citizens, 5-4 to deny a motion by Supervisor Geary Higgins to disapprove the True North data center on the banks of Goose Creek. Supervisors Ron Myer, Matt Letourneau, Kristen Umstattd, Suzanne Volpe, and Koran Saines voted to place the data center, in undisturbed farmland, upstream of the public water intake along Goose Creek, setting a precedent for industrial development of the entire Transition Area. A second Read More →
The Loudoun Board of Supervisors will consider at its November 15 meeting a proposal to rezone a parcel next to Goose Creek, a State Scenic River, to allow construction of a large 9-building data center complex. Citizen and citizen group objections include environmental ones (vast addition of impervious surfaces adding runoff to the creek, just upstream of public water intakes, removal of 90% percent of tree cover on the site, which further helps buffer contaminants from entering the water supply, Read More →
Should Loudoun County allow a noise level more than 20 times as high as that of New York City? The Board of Supervisors will vote Thursday, October 20, on a new noise ordinance for the county. The current proposal before the board is to increase the permitted noise level by moving the measurement of the noise from the location of the noise-maker (the “emitter”) to the property line of adjacent property owners (the “receiver”). Loudoun County’s current noise ordinance is Read More →
The Short Hill Committee of the Loudoun County Preservation and Conservation Coalition on June 20 sent forward a memorandum to the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors urging the overrule of the Planning Commission’s approval of the Commission Permit to allow AT&T to build a 35-foot-tall, 160,000-square-foot structure on the ridge of the Short Hill Mountain. (See the memorandum here.) Al Van Huyck, Chair of the Committee and Coalition, commended AT&T for suspending its application, but went on to say, “regardless, Read More →
On the agenda for the Tuesday, April 26, Planning Commission hearing is a project with huge implications for our mountains and rural Loudoun. It is about approval of a Commission Permit for a telecom 160,000 sq ft building, 35 feet high and 433 long, with generators and air coolers on the ridgeline of the Short Hill Mountain, at the old AT&T site. There are many concerns about this proposed industrial use in the rural area. Comments presented by LCPCC Chair Read More →
The Loudoun County Board of Supervisors will hold a public hearing on the zoning changes that the Zoning Ordinance Action Group has proposed for the Floodplain Overlay District at 6 p.m. Wednesday, October 14, in the County Office Building. See the July 19 post (“Alert: Tell Planning Commission to reject weakening of floodplain rules”), for detail on this important topic, affecting residents throughout the county. Please plan to attend and speak out against these proposed changes, which would weaken protections Read More →
The Loudoun County Board of Supervisors’ Transportation and Land Use Committee will make recommendations on the Steep Slopes Zoning Ordinance Amendment at its meeting on October 16, 2015. The meeting begins at 9 a.m. The changes proposed by the Zoning Ordinance Action Group (ZOAG, a board appointed by the Board of Supervisors) would open hundreds of acres of fragile landscapes to more intensive development. The Coalition has submitted a letter to the Board of Supervisors in opposition to many of Read More →
At 6 p.m. on Tuesday, July 21, 2015, Loudoun County Planning Commission will hold a Public Hearing on the Floodplain Overlay District (FOD) amendments. We need as many people as possible to come out to speak against the changes that the Zoning Ordinance Action Group (ZOAG) is recommending and the Loudoun County Staff is strongly opposing. If you cannot attend, please email all Planning Commission members that you support the opposition of the County Professional Staff. Specific proposed changes to Read More →