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January 13, 2013

Dimming restrictions on commercial lighting

(Continued)

NORMAN —

The concern that affordable commercial lights available from OG&E are not compliant with the current lighting ordinance was also discussed. OG&E does have two types of lights available. One of those choices does include the full cut-off light required by the ordinance. Those are on a 30 foot pole so adjusting the ordinance to accept the taller poles will provide remedy for that issue.

There was agreement on lighting driveways and curbs for safety, an unforeseen problem created by a clause in the ordinance.

“Any requirement to limit the spillover on right-of-way or at entrances to businesses can be removed without concern except where a residential property is adjacent and that will be handled with a lighting limitation at the residential property line,” according to city staff notes.

“We have to think forward,” Jungman said. “It’s not fair to businesses to make rules that are unclear.”

The current lighting ordinance contains many exemptions including internally illuminated signs, temporary lighting for theatrical, television and performance areas, for non-commercial athletic fields, lighting in swimming pools and water features, lighting for emergency responders, temporary holiday lighting, low-voltage landscape lighting, decorative lighting and more.

There was an amount of discussion concerning the low number of light-related complaints in the city. There was some discussion of how many lighting concerns are regularly expressed by residents during the planning and platting portion of the commercial building process, however.

Kovach said residents have complained to him.

“It shouldn’t be ignored that every time we have a commercial development requesting to go next to a residential area, the applicant mentions the lighting ordinance as an answer to concerns about too much light in the neighborhood,” Kovach said. “Whichever version of the ordinance we end up with, we want to give people that same level of comfort and I don’t think that comes purely from a responsive ordinance, but from a predictive ordinance.”

Joy Hampton366-3539jhampton@normantranscript.com

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