The Ann Arbor City Council’s latest ordinance aims to minimize the impact of excess lighting, promote energy efficiency and protect the environment from artificial light after sunset.
Councilmembers unanimously passed the ordinance Tuesday. It will be effective within 10 days.
The ordinance requires outdoor lighting fixtures to be shielded for private properties. It also imposes limits on the Color Rendering Index (CRI) and the Correlated Color Temperature (CCT) in non-residential and multi-family units.
Temporary light installations on private property, such as holiday and seasonal decorative lighting and public art installations, are exempt from the regulations in the ordinance for 90 consecutive days in a year but must be turned off between midnight and 6 a.m.
Flag lighting is also exempt from the ordinance.
Council amended the outdoor lighting sections of Chapter 55 of the Unified Development Code of Title V of the Code of The City of Ann Arbor to promote these robust lighting regulations.
Councilmember Erica Briggs, D-Ward 5, one of the co-sponsors of the resolution, said the next step after the passing of this ordinance will be to educate city residents about light pollution.
“Light pollution isn’t that challenging to solve,” Briggs said. “It’s just about directing light where we need it and where it is helpful, and not directing it upwards and outwards.”
Councilmembers Lisa Disch, D-Ward 1, Kathy Griswold, D-Ward 2, and Jeff Hayner, D-Ward 1, also co-sponsored the resolution.
Griswold said she supported the ordinance due to the dangers posed by excess lighting on individuals’ health and the environment.
“Excess lighting is just as dangerous as less lighting,” Griswold said. “It’s not just a waste of energy but it is also dangerous for humans.”
During the scheduled public hearing for the ordinance, a spokesperson from the Ann Arbor Student Advisory Council said the advisory council wholeheartedly supports the ordinance. The spokesperson said decreasing light pollution in Ann Arbor would prevent harmful health effects caused by excessive light, like headaches, fatigue, stress and increased anxiety.
“(Light pollution) may not seem as immediate or critical as the multiple crises the nation is swept up in during these times, but light pollution is an ongoing issue that has been wasting resources and money for far too long,” the spokesperson said. “Now is the time to fix it.”
Ann Arbor resident Heather Good also called into the meeting to express support for the ordinance on behalf of the Michigan Audubon, the Bird Center of Michigan and the Washtenaw Audubon Society, which all help protect migratory birds from light pollution.
“The proposed ordinance protects the natural environment from artificial light at night which is of utmost importance for the protection of the ecosystem, community health and migratory birds,” Good said. “With the approval of this ordinance, Ann Arbor can yet again be another example of urban sustainability and consideration for migratory and resident birds alike.”
Daily Staff Reporter Navya Gupta can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.