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Dispute over outdoor lights prompts new city ordinance

Neighbor disputes in Seattle often arise over tangible elements such as landscape features and property lines. Yet plenty of intangible intrusions can also occur between two properties, like excess noise or light. The trouble is that what some may view as a nuisance, others may view to be no big deal. Thus, each side in such a dispute often sticks to their proverbial guns, with both believing their own respective point of views to be right. Often, it takes the intervention of city officials to resolve such matters.

That is exactly what is happening in an Illinois community. The village’s Board of Trustee’s is debating the merits of new ordinance that would determine how much light is too much to cast onto a neighbor’s property. This new proposal stems from a disagreement between two neighbors. The city already has similar regulations in place for commercial properties. However, while local officials recognize the need to create a standard to avoid potential future disputes from occurring, they also agree that such an ordinance will take time to refine and implement. For example, the new measure would impose limitations of 0.1 footcandles of light at a height of 36 inches once one is notified that the glow is excessive. Officials recognize that specialized measuring equipment will be needed to monitor light output, and a grace period would need to be set to allow homeowners time to make their lighting complaint. As a side note, the neighbors that prompted this resolution agreed to resolve the matter amicably.

Becoming compliant with city ordinances requires that one first be familiar with them. As a local attorney would bring such familiarity to a case, those involved in a dispute may be wise to utilize such a resource.

Source: The Chicago Tribune “Deerfield ordinance seeks to address light disputes between neighbors” Sadin, Steve, July 10, 2017

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