Ozark passes ‘dark sky’ ordinance, aiming to reduce light pollution

City of Ozark, Missouri.
City of Ozark, Missouri.(KY3)
Published: Jul. 15, 2021 at 2:38 PM CDT
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OZARK, Mo. (KY3) - Ozark city leaders are looking to reduce light pollution through a newly-passed ordinance.

The city’s board of aldermen has passed a “dark sky” ordinance, which is designed to minimize lighting impacts “while preserving the viability of the night sky,” according to a news release from the city. The ordinance passed on July 6.

The ordinance addresses such issues as Backlight-Uplight-Glare (BUG) ratings, types of light fixtures and the number of measurable lumens (measured in footcandles) can produce.

By passing the ordinance, the city says this legislation is first-of-its-kind in the state of Missouri. Such policies have been enacted in California, Arizona and other states.

“The city is taking a progressive step in passing the Dark Sky Ordinance,” said City Administrator, Steve Childers. “By passing this ordinance we will balance the preservation of our night skies, a unique cultural asset in the Ozarks, while fulfilling the needs of our developing community. We want to thank everyone who was able to make this possible.”

“The passage of this ordinance sends a loud and clear message to those citizens living in, and to those interested in relocating, that the community of Ozark is willing to set such high standards, and is resolute in its efforts to protect the environment in which we live and share,” said Ward I Alderman RJ Flores. “The ultimate goal is to one day see Ozark on the national list of Dark Sky Communities.”

National reports say such an ordinance can help reduce light pollution, which could increase the number of stars visible at night and reduce the effects of electric lighting on the environment.

A small group advocated for such legislation In Ozark as early as 2018 before it was unanimously passed last week. The ordinance uses standards set by the International Dark Sky Association (IDA) in Tucson, Arizona.

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