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City amends new ordinance to grandfather in commercial lighting

Hendersonville’s City Council on Wednesday voted to adopt a lighting ordinance after about two years of work and debate on the topic.

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 have on residential areas. It also addresses the amount of light along stream buffers.
In December, Hendersonville’s Business Advisory 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.
Before voting on the ordinance  during its regular monthly meeting on Wednesday, council members removed any mention of a time limit on compliance. The ordinance does require that businesses come into compliance if businesses make substantial repairs, replacements or improvements. Barring that, existing commercial lighting is grandfathered in.
Council member Jerry Smith voted against removing the time requirement for compliance with the remainder of the council voting to drop the requirement.
The vote came after council member Debbie Roundtree said she thought any time requirement would put an undue burden on small businesses. Smith questioned if 15 years for compliance might be better than 10.
After making another small change to the text, the council voted unanimously to approve the ordinance.
Council also directed City Manager John Connet to have city properties come into compliance with the ordinance. The ordinance exempts publicly-owned buildings from the lighting requirements.
City staff began working on the ordinance at the request of the City Council in early 2021.