by Jeff Pregler, AICP, Sierra Vista, AZ
Originally posted on The Western Planner
Part of the mystique of living in the western United States is the large expanses of undeveloped land and the seemingly pristine endless natural features. In fact, many states often identify themselves by these features such as Montana’s Big Sky Country or Washington’s Evergreen State. These western ideals are so valued that any threat of disturbance can often lead to conflict.
This mystique can be extended to the night sky, the ultimate undiscovered natural phenomenon. Any attempt at disturbing the tranquil beauty of the night sky or humans’ ability to view it, often creates resistance. There are as many people trying to protect the night sky from light pollution as there are individuals protecting the earth from other forms of contamination. Arizona is no exception, especially with its appeal to amateur astronomers who value dark skies for observing celestial phenomena. Therefore, it is usually a fine balancing act when codes or ordinances are proposed that will affect dark skies. This was the daunting task before me two years ago, which concluded with a very positive outcome for all stakeholders involved.
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