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Egremont ZBA proposes unnecessary exterior lighting changes for Egremont Village Inn

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By Wednesday, Mar 13, 2019 Letters 6

 To the Editor:

We, as business owners in Egremont, are taking this opportunity to voice our strong support for the Egremont Village Inn and The Barn ahead of Egremont’s Zoning Board of Appeals hearing on Monday, March 18, 2019 at 7 p.m. at Egremont’s Town Hall. The ZBA is calling this hearing to potentially enforce changes to the businesses’ exterior lighting. We maintain any changes proposed by the ZBA are unnecessary, that the current lighting has received no complaints from bordering neighbors, that it has no disruptive effect on Route 23 traffic and that it is in keeping with the character of Main Street, South Egremont.

We urge Egremont residents to turn out for the ZBA hearing on March 18th to show their support for the Egremont Village Inn and The Barn. 

41 Main Antiques

Andre Gordon, Owner

 

John Andrews Farmhouse Restaurant

Dan Smith, Owner

 

Kenver Ltd.

Lucinda Vermeulen, Owner

 

Old Egremont Country Store

Diana & Frank Pastier, Owners

 

Old Mill Restaurant

Terry Moore, Owner

 

South Egremont Spirit Shoppe

Dan Thomas, Owner

Tom Morrison, Owner

 

Zorn Core Fitness

Ari Zorn, Owner

 

Zorn Family Chiropractic

Heidi Zorn, Owner



6 Comments   Add Comment

  1. Susan P. Bachelder says:

    In fact, the ZBA is not imposing new restrictions. When the Keane’s appeared for a permit to hold a New Year’s Eve party, the ZBA asked that they present an appropriate lighting plan — of their design — that reflected the original conditions of use agreed to by the Keenes at the time of purchase and subsequent usage licensing. Their signage – along with many of the signs in Egremont – are out of compliance with the Town’s Zoning Bylaw regarding illumination of signs. See 4.3.2.5a. Shaded and incandescent are required of all signage illumination. In fact, several safety complaints have been registered with the police and Salisbury Bank, the most obvious offender, has recently replaced their lights with downward directed fixtures. Last year, I presented to the BOS a study of all signage lighting much out of compliance, and my concerns regarding the increasing illumination. As a member of the Ma. Chapter of International Dark Skies, Monday night might be the opportune time to begin a discussion of lighting throughout the town that is safe, neighbor friendly, and supports the environment. It has been demonstrated that over-lighting is having serious consequences on our health. The Keanes have the opportunity to step forward with a plan that gracefully accomplishes their needs within the present law and address in a forward thinking manner these three points. To say that the ZBA is inhibiting business for extending the courtesy to the Keanes to develop their own lighting plan in compliance with their existing conditions indicates a lack of understanding of the role of the ZBA. However, interest and participation in any discussion regarding the impact of light on the environment is always appreciated.

    1. Jim Hall says:

      It does seem that a constructive conversation is in order if the Egremont zoning by-law has been written in such a way that the illumination of many existing signs are out of compliance. Requiring shading of new light fixtures for sign illumination to reduce upward light pollution certainly makes sense and is good policy. One assumes that existing lighting is grandfathered if it is not causing problems. Requiring incandescent lights seems odd unless the definition of “incandescent” is intended to include new technologies such as led light sources. Incandescent lighting normally means a light source with a glowing filament. This technology dates to Thomas Edison. By today’s standards, it is inefficient. Traditional high intensity discharge (HID) lighting technologies such as halogen, metal halide, and high pressure sodium (HPS) were often specified by lighting designers in the past to provide adequate illumination for applications such as signs but the trend over the last ten years or so has been to move to led technologies which can provide similar intensity with dramatically less energy consumption and heat dissipation. The first generation of led lights had issues with color rendition which is very important in how we respond to artificial lights. The technology has improved dramatically and the newer led lights can replicate “warm” color tones that we associate with incandescent lighting. Hopefully the Egremont ZBA meeting discussion will be productive and include considerations of the evolution of light sources that can provide lower energy use and longer lamp life.

      1. Jonathan Hankin says:

        Thank you, Jim, for highlighting these important issues and the seeming failure of Egremont ‘s lighting regs.

    2. Jenny Rubin says:

      Perhaps there should be more important issues to focus on than decorative lighting. Thank you.

  2. Susan P. Bachelder says:

    First let me apologize to the Keenes for misspelling their name….. And thank you Jim for raising the word incandescent, which is now being applied to any fixture with a 2700 kelvin temperature, including LEDs. At present there is before the state legislature a bill co sponsored by Sen. Hinds and Rep. Pignatelli to cap all exterior state fixtures at 3,000k. a bit cooler. This is higher than International Dark Sky recommends but is much better than the 4000k LED lights that Nat Grid is offering to install where you do run into the color difficulties you mention and we all now experience in the headlights of cars in that extreme blue range. I find it one of those “Yankee” ironies that the word in our bylaw, after all these years, still is valid to determine an appropriate light exposure!

    1. Richard M Allen says:

      Ms. Bachelder might have disclosed that she for years has complained about a number of operational aspects of the Egremont Village Inn, and that she is a member of the Egremont ZBA.

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