Educate your Community
Prepare yourself first. This website is just the start of your education on curbing light pollution. Read the latest research. Get to know the lights that are currently on the market. They change weekly.
Join the IDA Texas Yahoo Forum and hook up with others whom you can talk with. Go to some presentations on light pollution.
Help with the Texas Night Sky Festival™ to meet others you can learn from. Download the available PowerPoint presentations from the volunteer section. Take advantage of the additional Resources listed for your support. Help another volunteer run a booth about reducing light pollution at a local event.
You don’t need to do all of these at once. These are suggestions about how you can immerse yourself in the information and become confortable enough to talk to others about reducing light pollution. Soon you’ll be ready to inspire others!
Get Involved with the Texas Movement
The State of Texas does not allow most County Commissioners to regulate outdoor lighting. Neither are cities allowed to regulate outdoor lighting in their Extraterritorial Jurisdictions (ETJs). This leaves the property rights of the citizens of Texas unprotected. Lighting may be installed which shines bright lights onto another citizen’s property, destroying their ability to enjoy their property.
Texas requires the Cities and Counties around McDonald Observatory to have outdoor lighting regulations that shield lights but most unincorporated areas are not allowed to do what is required within fifty miles of the observatory. If you would like to join the movement to work with our Texas State Legislature to allow locals bodies to protect property rights by limiting light trespass, fill out the contact form on this website and let the IDA Texas volunteers know.
Getting Started with an Ordinance
Each municipality is unique and should consider what codes are appropriate. Look at what other communities have done, and find out how those ordinances have played out in that community. You will want an ordinance that will truly reduce light pollution.
An excellent reference for outdoor lighting codes that have proved to be effective and for additional resources are from the Flagstaff Dark Skies Coalition.
Get a feel for your community and what type of regulations fit best then, start piecing it together. If you live in a small town, a straightforward ordinance with diagrams and examples is probably best. Code enforcers have found that if the ordinance is too simplistic and lacks examples that it is often misinterpreted.
IDA Texas offers two generic outdoor lighting ordinances for Texas towns and a simple covenant to prevent light pollution that is suitable for inclusion in a variety of agreements. Three documents, as well as the Flagstaff and other Arizona ordinances, were used to develop these Generic Texas Outdoor Lighting Ordinances: the Outdoor Lighting Handbook v1.14 from IDA, the USA Pattern Outdoor Lighting Code v2.0, and the Model Lighting Ordinance (MLO) from IDA. They are all available for you here:
- Generic Texas Ordinance (MSWord download to be added soon)
- Generic Texas Mini Ordinance (MSWord download to be added soon)
- Simple Covenant to Prevent Light Pollution (MSWord download to be added soon)
- Outdoor Lighting Handbook v1.14 from IDA (pdf download)
- USA Pattern Outdoor Lighting Code v2.0 (pdf download)
- Model Lighting Ordinance (MLO) from IDA (pdf download)