EBlast February 1, 2021

  • Light Trespass Ordinance to be Considered by County
  • Video of MBCA Annual Meeting Available
  • Virtual Landscape Tour
  • Check the MBCA Calendar for Online Events
Light Trespass Ordinance to be Considered by County
When the County Planning Commission meets this Thursday, February 4, an improved County Lighting Ordinance will be the focus of a public hearing and Commission vote. The occasion represents the culmination of 10 years of grass roots efforts in the Morongo Basin aimed at enhancing the existing County lighting ordinance. Under consideration is a new “Light Trespass” ordinance that would replace the current “Glare and Outdoor Lighting” section of the Development Code with updated and improved language focused on glare and light trespass.

Passage of the enhanced ordinance will apply to both commercial and residential applications. The ordinance will regulate outdoor lighting practices and systems that minimize glare and light trespass; conserve energy and resources while maintaining night time safety, visibility, productivity; and curtail light pollution.

Hearing details, including both the existing and proposed ordinances along with additional background and context may be found in the staff report.

The Morongo Basin Conservation Association and other dark sky supporters include Joshua Tree National Park and the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center have been at the forefront of regional efforts to preserve dark skies. From 2010 through 2013 the Morongo Basin Dark Sky Alliance (MBDSA) became the first local coalition to propose night-sky friendly code changes by engaging in public outreach such as a County-funded Joshua Tree porch light replacement project. A summary of MBDSA projects can be found here.

Significant support has come through the office of the Third District County Supervisor. In 2014 then-Supervisor James Ramos appointed a County Dark Sky Committee which pursued educational programs and code revisions. The committee was re-initiated by Supervisor Dawn Rowe as the Third District Dark Sky Committee. With support from Rowe, recently deceased County Code Enforcement Chief Andy Wingert, and John Barentine from the International Dark Sky Association, the committee developed the spirit and language found in the proposed ordinance. 

If, as hoped and expected, the Planning Commission approves the proposed code revisions, then the updated ordinance will be presented to the Board of Supervisors for final approval and adoption. 

Video of MBCA Annual Meeting Available

For those who were not able to attend our annual meeting a recording of the event is now available. Our meeting began with a recap of the many issues MBCA continues to track and our plans for the year ahead followed by a presentation by JPL scientist Dr. Annmarie Eldering on monitoring carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

My take-away from Dr. Eldering’s studies and research was that we have yet to alter the trajectory of the increase of emissions of CO2. The sensitivity of the instruments on the orbiting satellite and International Space Station is so fine, that levels of one part to million can be measured. I encourage you to note the wiggling-line tracking CO2 on an upward trajectory. The wiggle represents the CO2 difference between the winter and the summer when plants are dormant or growing. Our personal choices can make a difference; however, it will require focused national and international policies and actions to reduce release of this damaging chemical into our atmosphere.

Virtual Landscape Tour

The 2020 virtual landscape tour, presented in 6 separate short videos, has now been edited into a film: Living in Harmony with Desert Landscapes. This video illustrates the diversity of approaches to landscape and acknowledges the support of the different water agencies for MBCA’s desert wise living programs. For 2021, MBCA has again committed to a virtual event that will showcase water and energy-wise landscapes throughout the Morongo Basin. Please stay tuned for forthcoming announcements.

Check the MBCA Calendar for Online Events

We continue to post community events of likely interest to MBCA supporters on our Events Calendar. While you are on our website, please consider becoming a member or making a donation.

I am wishing all of you Safety and Health during these difficult times!

Steve Bardwell

Your MBCA Board:

Steve Bardwell, President
David Fick, Vice President
Laraine Turk, Secretary
Cathy Zarakov, Treasurer  
Pat Flanagan, Director
Meg Foley, Director

Brian Hammer, Director
Janet Johnston, Director
Sarah Kennington, Director
Mike Lipsitz, Director
Arch McCulloch, Director
Ruth Rieman, Director


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