Free Daily Headlines


Set your text size: A A A

Business owners raise concerns about proposed lighting ordinance

Hendersonville’s Business Advisory Committee held a special called meeting on the city’s proposed lighting ordinance Monday. Hendersonville’s Business Advisory Committee held a special called meeting on the city’s proposed lighting ordinance Monday.

After nearly two hours of discussion, Hendersonville’s Business Advisory Committee voted Monday to recommend that City Council make two key changes to a proposed lighting ordinance.

The committee voted unanimously during a special called meeting to recommend that council eliminate a requirement that businesses come into compliance with ordinance in the next 10 years. Committee members also voted to recommend that council change the ordinance to increase the amount of light businesses are allowed to shine toward residential areas.
The vote came after several board members expressed safety and financial concerns about the proposed ordinance.
Board member Ken Gordon, an owner of the 24-hour Norm's Minit Mart convenience store chain in the city, said the proposed ordinance would have a big impact on his businesses in terms of the amount of light needed to keep people safe and the light needed to let potential customers know his stores are open at late hours.
“It opens up such an enormous can of worms, in my eyes,” he said.
The proposed ordinance called for .5 footcandles of intrusive light to be allowed by businesses near residential areas but the committee voted to recommend that number be changed to 1 footcandle. A footcandle is a way to measure the intensity of light falling on a surface.
Other committee members questioned why businesses would have to comply with the ordinance in 10 years. They also suggested that the necessary changes be made through normal upkeep and when businesses make substantial changes to their property. Board members also questioned whether the city would need to hire additional employees to monitor which businesses were in compliance and which were not.
Committee member Jay Egolf, who owns a car dealership in the city and serves on the county School Board, said changes such as the one in the proposed ordinance are normally grandfathered in and only trigger compliance when a business is sold or when it makes substantial changes.
“Is 10 years an arbitrary number?” he asked.
City Manager John Connet told the committee the 10-year requirement came from discussions with Duke Energy officials who said lighting along roadways in the city would be changed to reflect the requirements over the next 10 years.
Connet said the city’s staff has been working on the ordinance for more than a year and is eager to have the City Council consider the proposal.
“The council has not heard any of this discussion,” he said. “They just need to hear from y’all.”
Council member Jennifer Hensley, who attended Monday’s meeting, also said it was important that the council hear the advisory committee’s concerns.
“Any input council can get will be very helpful,” she said.
City staff members presented the proposed ordinance to the committee during the special called meeting.
The ordinance is intended to address light pollution in the city and applies to non-residential businesses and multi-family dwellings. It attempts to limit the impact lighting from businesses has on residential areas. It also addresses the amount of light along stream buffers.
Connet said city staff began working on the ordinance at the request of the City Council.