The Norman Transcript

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December 24, 2012

Light ordinance needs tweaking, officials say

NORMAN — The recently implemented city lighting ordinance has resulted in unforeseen problems for some businesses.

At Harvest Church, the biggest issue is the added cost.

“We’re doing two expansions. Our first phase is north of our building. We had an unplatted piece of property,” City Council member and Harvest Church Business Manager Chad Williams said.

The church owns 30 acres and is expanding, but the new lighting ordinance has proven to be costly.

“On the west side where we’re expanding we’re pulling the parking lot out, so we’re putting a parking lot on a newly platted piece of property to the north,” Williams said. “The big cost comes in the photo metric plans. Prior to this ordinance, our general contractor would call the lighting companies and say, ‘Here’s our plans for this property, we need to get a lighting plan on this.’ They would engineer the plan and tell you how many poles you needed. They would give you a layout on where you needed to put lighting

“Because of the new ordinance with photometric plans, they don’t want to be liable,” he said. “None of the manufacturers want to touch that or have that liability, so you have to hire a lighting engineer and that’s a very significant cost.”

Because of the platting requirement, the new church parking lot won’t be grandfathered in. While lighting issues can sometimes be addressed through the Board of Adjustment, that isn’t a solution to many of the issues resulting from the new city lighting ordinance.

“The Board of Adjustments is limited in what they can adjust,” Williams said.

Fixtures also cost more under the new ordinance.

“We have to have more poles and more fixtures to light this parking lot than we would previously,” Williams said. “It’s like when you have a dimmer in the house and you turn it down. Even the homeowners there don’t like how it’s lit. You don’t feel safe, and the sidewalks and entrances are not lit. The new ordinance restricts you from lighting public right-of-way. You can’t see the curbs when you’re pulling in.”

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