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Building near military bases? SA voting to dim the lights

The San Antonio City Council is expected to vote on an expanded military lighting overlay district that would further restrict new installation of outdoor lights near local Air Force bases.

The goal is to reduce light pollution around Joint Base San Antonio Lackland Air Force Base, Randolph Air Force Base, Camp Bullis and Camp Stanley to prevent distracting military personnel conducting night training.

In 2008, the initial military lighting overlay district was created for properties within 5 miles of Camp Bullis. In 2015, a study that explored Bexar County’s ambient light was completed, which can be seen here.

Over the past year, city leaders have been meeting with JBSA officials, the San Antonio Chamber of Commerce and the San Antonio Real Estate Council.

Much of the flight training conducted by local installations is for early-stage pilots flying aircraft like the F-16, which often includes takeoffs and landings at night that can be the riskiest part of the flight. So when night vision goggles don't work properly due to San Antonio's nighttime glow, that's a problem for the military.

The new zoning law is not retroactive.

“Any properties that are permitted will be grandfathered in, but new development going forward is going to have to comply,” said Doug Melnick, the city of San Antonio’s chief sustainability officer. “When you look at the technology out there and where lighting is going, it’s shifting in this way. Our view is that it won’t be a major burden for the development community, businesses or residents.”

Properties within 3 miles of an Air Force base would have the most restrictive lighting rules and would not be permitted to exceed the minimum level as directed by the Illuminating Engineering Society.

Read the complete article here.


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