Buncombe Commissioners approve new rules to curb light pollution

Here’s a list of highlights from the Jan. 17 meeting of the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners, which included the passage of a new outdoor lighting ordinance. We’ll have a full report in the Jan. 25 issue of Xpress. There’s also Twitter-based coverage of the meeting here.

The Buncombe County Board of Commissioners:

• Passed a new outdoor lighting ordinance designed to minimize light pollution and improve energy efficiency in unincorporated areas of the county. Commissioners amended a draft of the ordinance that had been recommended by the Planning Board, incorporating stronger measures recommended by the Sierra Club and other local environmental advocacy groups in to the final version. The amended ordinance passed 4-1, with Commissioner Carol Peterson casting the only vote against it. She said she supported the original version of the ordinance that had been recommended by the Planning Board, without the revisions.

• Unanimously approved a pair of grant applications for over $900,000 in state and federal funding that, if secured, would go to Mountain Mobility, the county’s transportation system. The grants would require roughly $166,000 in matching local funds.

• Unanimously approved a new “wellness incentive” designed to encourage county employees to measure and improve their blood pressure, cholesterol, body mass and blood sugar levels.

• Appointed three new members to the Planning Board: Bud Sales, Jim Young and Catherine Martin. They also reappointed six current members: Josh Holmes, Joe Sechler, Tom Alexander, Greg Phillips, Bernie Kessel and Michelle Pace Wood.

• Heard a report by Tom Rhodes, economic services program administrator, on the county’s poverty prevention and management programs. He emphasized the county’s success working with outside partners such as ABCCM. He also noted that the renovations are almost complete at the Health and Human Services building on Coxe Ave. in downtown Asheville and said the improved facility will greatly help streamline operations.

Photos by Bill Rhodes


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About Jake Frankel
Jake Frankel is an award-winning journalist who enjoys covering a wide range of topics, from politics and government to business, education and entertainment.

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2 thoughts on “Buncombe Commissioners approve new rules to curb light pollution

  1. Dionysis

    As an amateur sky watcher who loves to pull my telescope out and observe, the stronger lighting ordinance is most welcome.

  2. Matthew C

    Maybe the board should worry less about light pollution and worry more about the “stink” pollution of the homeless and vagrants just sitting in down town. I would think that should be a higher priority and would also increase business. More people would be willing to go downtown if they didnt have to worry about that. Working in the hotel field in Asheville, you would be shocked at the amount of people that come back and ask why we allow all the “stinky” people to just sit in door ways and cubbies in downtown during the day, and then at night all of them in the park near college st. How about we clean up asheville then worry about the lights?

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