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City spreads word on Dark Sky Ordinance

By Staff | Aug 22, 2013


As the deadline for full implementation of the City of Sanibel’s “Dark Sky Ordinance” rapidly approaches, the city has produced and released a helpful video with easy online access for island residential and business owners.

The city adopted the Dark Sky Ordinance in 2000. While all new construction and redevelopment since were required to comply, the ordinance does not become fully effective until Jan. 1, 2015.

The video reviews the purpose of the ordinance and makes recommendations on how to comply with the lighting codes. Anyone can view the online video at www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=vN_9prvdaQ8

The purpose of the law is to protect the natural beauty of Sanibel’s night skies as well as the habitat for nocturnal and crepuscular species, particularly sea turtles during nesting season. It’s purpose is to minimize light pollution by eliminating lights that cause a cumulative sky glow, reflect light directly up into the sky or cast light over the open waters of the Gulf and Bay thereby making the stars and moon less visible.

Sea turtles that lay their eggs on Sanibel’s beaches rely on the moon for guidance to and from the water. Excess light may discourage nesting turtles or result in the disorientation of hatchlings.


All of the city’s lighting on city grounds were brought into compliance by 2004.

The ordinance does not prohibit lighting, but regulates the type of fixtures and lights. It prohibits “up lighting” while permitting “down lighting.” In addition, coastal areas are required to use yellow, low wattage bulbs and any indoor lights easily visible from the beach should be shielded after 9 p.m. by using shades or blinds.

The city also has posted a “Property Owner’s Guide to Compliance with the Dark Sky Policy” on the city’s website: www.mysanibel.com.

For more information or assistance contact the Planning Department at (239) 472-4136; or email planning director James Jordan at jimmy.jordan@mysanibel.com.