BRICK – Residents who suffer from bright lights shining onto their property from neighbors’ yards should get some relief as the governing body passed the introduction of an ordinance titled ‘Light Trespass into Residential Areas’ during a a recent board meeting.
Council vice-chairman Art Halloran said the council’s land use committee had requested the ordinance which includes a ban on light trespassing in residential areas and outlines prohibited acts.
These acts include the placement or maintenance of floodlights or other types of artificial lighting that provide a continuous concentrated beam of light extending beyond any property line.
It also prohibits the placing or maintaining of floodlights or other types of artificial lighting extending beyond the vertical plane of the face of any building or structure which causes a beam of light to reflect onto any property or an adjacent public road.
Motion-sensor lights that automatically turn off within ten minutes of activation are exempt.
Police code enforcement and the zoning department will have the ability to enforce that code, Halloran said. Existing lights are not grandfathered, he added.
During public commentary, Maureen Molz, longtime township resident of Drum Point Road, brought visual aids that showed where the light pollution in her area was coming from.
“I am one of many neighbors who are hurting and coping with the excessive lights that have begun to populate Brick neighborhoods,” she said.
Molz said glare is a second component of light pollution, resulting in the inability to see past lights.
“If I’m outside on my patio, I’m blinded by the light and can’t see the night sky,” she said. “I have lived in The Brick for over 30 years and have never seen anything like this before.”
Molz said she retired in 2019 and looked forward to a happy retirement, but finds herself stressed and unable to sleep as artificial light comes through her room-darkening blinds.
“In short, I don’t have the peaceful enjoyment of my property,” she says. “I’m really excited that the city council is considering passing this ordinance,” Molz said.
Molz’s neighbors Chris and Teresa Demetriou also attended the meeting.
Teresa said they and other neighbors had suffered from light intrusion and glare for two years.
She described a nearby house that has a bright bulb on each of the 15 exterior columns surrounding the property.
“The light that is emitted encroaches on surrounding properties and across the lagoon – even homes that are 90 feet away,” she said.
The couple have to keep the blinds closed at night, which means they can’t open their windows and get in the fresh air. “It’s a compromise that we don’t think we have to make,” she said.
Some of the residents approached the offending neighbor, but the neighbor doesn’t care, Demetriou said.
“We need your help. We think it’s time for a lighting ordinance to help us and our neighbors get back to simply enjoying our homes – inside and out – when we choose it,” she said.
The New Jersey Light Pollution Study Commission submitted a report to the Governor and Legislature in April 1996 and specifically noted that light intrusion, including lights that illuminate a neighboring property, may be considered a invasion of privacy, deterioration of the natural night environment, lead to impacts, reduce the possibility of observing the starry night sky, and inconvenient lighting conditions can be avoided by the adoption of local ordinances.