Starry skies

The Amador County Planning Commission voted to recommend approval of a new “Dark Sky” ordinance.

The Commission voted the approval recommendation at their meeting on Tuesday, December 10, following two previous public hearings earlier this year on the new law, which will require outdoor lighting in the county to be directed downward, away from neighboring properties and the night sky.

The ordinance comes out of a settlement between the county and Foothill Conservancy, which sued over the county’s General Plan. While making some technical adjustments to the ordinance, Planning Commissioners rejected a request from the Conservancy to apply the new regulations against existing buildings.

The new lighting rules will apply to any new construction and only apply to existing buildings if they are repaired or remodeled. The commission also elected to keep exemptions for both public and private airports, as well as lighting needed for public events such as sports.

The ordinance now goes before the Amador County Board of Supervisors for final consideration and a vote. That public hearing is expected in January.