Huntsville embarks on dark sky friendly info campaign

By Matt Sitler

The Town of Huntsville is embarking on a dark sky-friendly outdoor lighting information campaign to encourage residents to minimize light pollution in and around Huntsville.

The information campaign is to accompany the Outdoor Lighting By-law, a new by-law passed by Town Council in January 2016, requiring outdoor lighting fixtures to be dark sky-friendly.

“When we minimize light pollution, we are protecting the natural environment and maintaining a view of the night stars that most tourists rarely see,” said Councillor Bob Stone, one of the proponents of dark sky-friendly outdoor lighting.

Stone notes that there can be some misunderstanding about what dark sky-friendly outdoor lighting entails.

“We are not asking anyone to get rid of their outdoor lighting; we’re simply asking them to make sure the light is directed where it is intended and nowhere else,” he said, adding, “In the vast majority of cases, your lighting can achieve the purpose for which it was intended and still be dark sky-friendly and in compliance with the bylaw.”

All new fixtures are required to comply with the Outdoor Lighting By-law immediately. Residents have until January 2026 to bring existing fixtures into compliance.

“Ten years is a long time, and we did that on purpose,” Stone notes. “We’re hoping that as residents and businesses come to understand that they can be safe, secure, and well-lit – and still be dark sky-friendly – we hope everyone will want to comply. But that may take some time.”

For information about dark sky-friendly Outdoor Lighting and how to bring your outdoor lighting into compliance with the new by-law while still achieving your outdoor lighting goals, visit the Town’s Outdoor Lighting page.