Blossom Meadow Farm chairs the North Fork Dark Sky Coalition, an alliance of local community groups, civic organizations, and businesses dedicated to protecting and preserving the night sky from the widespread effects of light pollution. The Coalition urges the following guidelines for exterior lighting plans:
1) Only install artificial lighting where it is necessary for safety and this lighting must meet the standards that follow
2) All exterior lighting fixtures are zero uplight (fully shielded) fixtures (as required by Southold Town Code 172) equipped with motion detectors and amber light sources (2200 Kelvin LED or NBA/Narrow Band Amber LED)
3) No uplighting of trees, building walls, fences, and foliage (these actions are prohibited as per Southold Town Code 172)
4) Business sign lighting fixtures are eliminated if your business is open only during daylight hours. If your business is open at night, business sign lights must be mounted on top of the sign and face downward, illuminating only the sign.
5) All exterior lights are on motion detectors (a proven crime deterrent). All nonessential exterior lighting shall be turned off within a half hour after the close of business (required by Southold Town Code 172).
Note: exterior motion detector lights can be calibrated so that they aren’t a hair trigger nuisance light and are instead useful by adjusting the “range” dial and shortening the motion detector’s detection zone
6) Glare shields must be installed on all motion detector security lights, protecting adjacent properties from glare and excessive lighting (the maximum illuminance at the property line of a parcel that adjoins a residential parcel or public right of way may not exceed 0.05 footcandle).
7) All interior lights are shut off when the building is unoccupied, with the exception of motion sensor lighting or lights on preset timers. Lighting on preset timers should be turned off between the hours of 11PM and 5AM.
8) At flagpoles, upward facing floodlights have been removed and replaced with a flagpole downlight (amber light) or the daily tradition of raising and lowering the American flag has been adopted. For a flagpole downlight, check out the Stargazer LED Flagpole Downlight (amber light) from Eagle Mountain.
9) Holiday lights are only used between Thanksgiving and January 15th and must be turned off by 12:59am (required by Southold Town Code 172)
Much progress has been made toward legislating more stringent exterior lighting plan guidelines. On Dec 21, 2021, Suffolk County IR 1805-2021, an amendment to the Suffolk County Light Pollution Law to reduce the Kelvin (blue light) in light sources on county owned facilities from 3000K to 2200K was passed and goes into effect July 27, 2022. Click here for the benefits of switching to amber light On the global stage, the International Dark-Sky Association adopted a board policy on January 28, 2021 recommending amber light for most exterior lighting installations.
On Jan 5, 2022, New York State Senator Brad Hoylman and Assemblymember Patricia Fahy submitted S. 7663 Dark Skies Protection Act, which will require most non-essential commercial and residential outdoor lighting to be extinguished between 11pm and 5am, be motion activated or be fully-shielded by Jan 1, 2025. This legislation is modeled after similar legislation passed in New Mexico and Arizona and has a high likelihood of being passed here in New York.
Given the advancements in lighting technology and the legislative trends toward a darker sky, we urge everyone to use motion detectors on all exterior fixtures and amber light sources in addition to installing fully shielded fixtures where artificial light is necessary.