Dark Sky Initiative
Over the last few years Heber City has taken great strides to reclaim and preserve its night sky, with the real work just about to start. The City’s recent Dark Sky initiatives are designed to implement actionable measures to reduce night-time light pollution, so residents and visitors can enjoy the night sky’s natural beauty. The City Council has approved new ordinances and standards that equip the Engineering and Planning Departments with the necessary tools to protect Heber’s night sky as we grow. We have adopted updated standard drawings and specifications which require all public lighting to be dark sky compliant. This originally started in 2019, when the City adopted dark sky compliant fixtures.
In 2021 the City Council made the policy decision to reduce the number of public lights required within a development. This new standard jettisoned the prior requirement to have a street light every 200-300 feet and replaced it with a requirement to require lighting only at intersections with collector roads (while retaining discretion to require street lights at other critical points as required for public safety). This update also finally eliminated the ugly cobra head lighting from the City’s road standards.
During this time the Council also voted to require all new dwelling units and new buildings citywide to comply with City dark sky requirements. Now, all new buildings in the city must have full cutoff exterior lighting, which means the lightbulb cannot be visible from the street. This new standard is designed to substantially reduce light pollution and its impact on night sky visibility.
Now comes the fun stuff. The City, in conjunction with Heber Light & Power, is about to start the process of retrofitting the street lights on Main Street to make them dark-sky compliant. Phase one, which is included in the current fiscal year’s budget, include those lights between 400 North and 600 South. Phase two will focus on those lights north of 400 North and south of 600 South. Work is expected to begin on Phase One in the next month or two. City staff is also strategizing how best to bring City-owned facilities into dark sky compliance by early Spring 2023.
Once these projects are wrapped up, City staff will turn to those street lights located elsewhere in the City. Some neighborhoods may have excessive street lights and some have outdated lights that should be retrofitted to become dark sky compliant. We want to hear from you. Please see below to submit your request(s), where you can nominate non-corner/intersection streetlights to be evaluated for retrofitting or even decommissioned.