Thanks for reading through to the end…

We share your inclination to get the whole story. For the past 25 years, Xpress has been committed to in-depth, balanced reporting about the greater Asheville area. We want everyone to have access to our stories. That’s a big part of why we've never charged for the paper or put up a paywall.

We’re pretty sure that you know journalism faces big challenges these days. Advertising no longer pays the whole cost. Media outlets around the country are asking their readers to chip in. Xpress needs help, too. We hope you’ll consider signing up to be a member of Xpress. For as little as $5 a month — the cost of a craft beer or kombucha — you can help keep local journalism strong. It only takes a moment.

About Letters
We want to hear from you! Send your letters and commentary to

Before you comment

The comments section is here to provide a platform for civil dialogue on the issues we face together as a local community. Xpress is committed to offering this platform for all voices, but when the tone of the discussion gets nasty or strays off topic, we believe many people choose not to participate. Xpress editors are determined to moderate comments to ensure a constructive interchange is maintained. All comments judged not to be in keeping with the spirit of civil discourse will be removed and repeat violators will be banned. See here for our terms of service. Thank you for being part of this effort to promote respectful discussion.

4 thoughts on “Letter: Update needed for city’s outdoor lighting ordinance

  1. Mike R.

    Please excuse me, but of all the myriad issues/problems we have in our society, somehow I really can’t get my head around too much light at night being much of an issue. In fact, I think the City’s current “light ordinance” is a bit silly and many of the rules are unenforceable except in new development. Sorry, I just don’t see this as much of priority. Perhaps the author(s) could enlighten us as to why they think this is so important. Thank you.

    • Sam S

      Hi, Mike! I hope you had a Merry Christmas/happy holiday season. To state the obvious: I am not the original author of the Letter to the Editor, but I support a re-visitation of the lighting ordinances, and wish more municipalities would do the same. First, I would agree that there are a MYRIAD of issues that Asheville and WNC should tackle, but I don’t think that addressing one issue is mutually exculsive of addressing others. I would hope that we could “walk and chew gum at the same time”

      Second, we should update and enhance dark sky protections to A) Provide safer human/animal interactions in the WUI–Wildland Urban Interface. We have an ability to take better care of our land, and that includes limiting our impact to the nocturnal animals that are adversely impacted by urban lighting; and, B) There are so few International Dark Sky Association Places left if the Eastern United states, and we should do all we can to limit light pollution to see the night sky–especially since we’re so close to other observatories. Is there a monetary value to seeing a clear starry sky? Of course not, but there’s a quintessentially human experience to it, and that should be protected for citizens and tourists alike.

  2. Sarah P Blanchard

    I’d add that light pollution can disrupt the migratory and mating patterns of bird populations. Certain types of light can also draw swarms of insects carrying disease vectors. Old technology and poorly directed light beams waste electricity, can be hazardous and difficult to recycle, and drive up costs for all of us. Some types of light from streetlamps can distort color recognition, creating a safety hazard and reducing the ability of law enforcement personnel to deter or investigate criminal activity. Yes, we need to address the other issues Mike R raised. But we can move forward, I hope, on several fronts at once.

  3. Robert

    We should all be quieter, calmer, and turn out the lights as much as possible–if nothing else, in order to respect others and not infringe upon their Quality Of Life. Just last night, in my own home, my fiancee stayed up late to write poetry (or something!) at our dining table. Her excessive light use caused me several fitful hours of sleep before the power (very thankfully) went out during the storm. Before that Godsend (wish the power would fail more often!), I was forced to rise from my fitful slumber to place a fleece jacket on the floor to block out light sneaking under the door. If ordinances are not improved, we must at least give our extra fleece jackets to ‘possums!

    *All kidding aside, my first sentence is what I truly believe.

Leave a Reply

To leave a reply you may Login with your Mountain Xpress account, connect socially or enter your name and e-mail. Your e-mail address will not be published. All fields are required.