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Dock Lights and City Code

Old 11-01-2010, 05:15 PM
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Default Dock Lights and City Code

Greetings,

Wondering if someone might be able to help with a question. The folks across the canal from me just installed one of those streetlight style dock lights with a sensor that causes the light to come on at dusk.

The light is incredibly bright, and stayed on all last night and into the morning, turning off only when the sun came up. Even with blackout blinds, the rooms in our house are lit up like a Christmas tree, so nobody slept well.

I thought I had either heard, or read somewhere, that the light must be shielded to prevent the light from illuminating things across the canal. I'm going to send a very nice, well worded letter to the owner, to see if he'll turn the light off later in the evening, but if that fails, I want to know if I have other options in advance.

We can't tolerate it for much longer. ;?

Thanks!
Old 11-01-2010, 05:32 PM
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You should have a good case.

I wouldn't send any letters until you know the city code re: Light pollution.
Old 11-01-2010, 06:44 PM
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Old 11-01-2010, 06:49 PM
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How about a large mirror to return the favor?
Old 11-01-2010, 07:00 PM
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This is exactly what came to us about 5 months ago. The Power Company refused to install a shield because they rent the light to the owner, and HE is the one that needs to ask for a shield.

Obviously, owner doesn't want to limit his view.

The City doesn't have a light pollution ordinance, so they can't do anything. The cops can't do anything without an ordinance to enforce.

That left me with filing a criminal harassment charge against the owner...this, after sending the guy a message and after numerous contacts with the power company and the City.

At the eleventh hour the owner allowed a shield to be installed before I filed charges. Problem solved. The owner hasn't looked our way since then.

I don't feel bad at all because the owner meant to light up the whole area even after knowing that our whole back of the house was like looking into a search light.
Old 11-01-2010, 07:35 PM
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Old 11-01-2010, 09:04 PM
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If you live on a canal, does it serve as an aide to navigation? I'm going to play the devil's advocate here. We lived on the water growing up (2 different homes). We kept a mercury vapor lamp with the sensor always on and many nearby boaters used them to navigate at night. The last house was on a point where the bay met the sound so it helped many to get in safe once the sun went down. Why not get curtains if you already have blinds and you want the light out?
Old 11-02-2010, 12:48 AM
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Sad, but it's another case of one person's happiness is another person's misssssssery. Don't get me wrong, I like people being happy like skippy, but not at the expense of others.


One thing is for certain, if you write the people a letter and don't get the results you're after, then shooting out his light every night is going to have the finger pointed at you......even if it is your neighbour shooting out the guys light.

How many other homes do you figure the guy's light would be posing a problem with?
Old 11-02-2010, 04:09 AM
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Thanks for the responses everyone...

Most of the homes along the canal have landscape lighting, so it's certainly not an aid to navigation. Navigating our canal at night is easy, even in the worst of conditions.

The spotlight analogy is dead on. We have dinner on our patio under candlelight on occassion, and quite frequently during the winter, but that light is like having a cars headlights on the back of our house.

In my opinion, a light of that type should have a shield that directs the light towards the water, and also shields the bulb. The entire area is now lit up like a construction site at night. For what purpose?

Instead of looking out the back of our house at night, or sitting on the dock, and seeing the homes with their landscape lighting, we look into a spotlight. It's completely taken the visual appeal out of living on the water.
Old 11-02-2010, 04:45 AM
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If you haven't already, I suggest you reach out to your neighbors in a friendly way and let them know the light is causing you discomfort. If you are told it's for "security" point out that once the whole neighborhood gets blackout curtains there won't be anyone looking at his boat except people wanting to steal it...

On my local lake there was a dock near a choke point that had one of those lights. I asked on the local forum if anyone knew these folks and could they ask to put in a shield because it was so bright I could not make out the markers in that channel. Several other people chimed in with similiar opinions. Turn out the 'offender' is a frequent participant in that board and a good egg, and completely removed that light. It was replaced with a single normal sized bulb at the foot of the dock. It gives enough light for dock purposes and provides an unofficial navigaton reference.

My point is... Start off in a constructive manner. You're more likely to get a posiitve response. Once you start with the nasty-grams it's hard to take them back.

Good luck!
Old 11-02-2010, 04:53 AM
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Originally Posted by Kamper View Post
My point is... Start off in a constructive manner. You're more likely to get a posiitve response. Once you start with the nasty-grams it's hard to take them back.

Good luck!

Agreed 100%...That's always my policy...
Old 11-02-2010, 06:12 AM
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why not invite him over one night and let him see for himself how bright it is .If he is reasonable he will come over and see.
Old 11-02-2010, 06:28 AM
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Originally Posted by devildogdad View Post
why not invite him over one night and let him see for himself how bright it is .If he is reasonable he will come over and see.
I agree...start there.
Old 11-02-2010, 11:39 AM
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Originally Posted by devildogdad View Post
why not invite him over one night and let him see for himself how bright it is .If he is reasonable he will come over and see.
That or put up your own light that is brighter and just so happens to be pointing directly at his house/ window.
Old 11-02-2010, 11:50 AM
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Originally Posted by Garett View Post
That or put up your own light that is brighter and just so happens to be pointing directly at his house/ window.

That falls under the, "two wrongs...." category, because nighttime brightness is what's objectionable, so adding to the light pollution doesn't fix anything.

My neighbor never had to look at the light because it is off to the side of his house and all he looks at is reflected light. We, on the other hand, had to look at the glare.

Imagine two people in a dark room. The one with the flashlight sees everything, and the one being shined on sees nothing but too much brightness.

Neighbor's response to us was that his need for security trumped our need for shade. My stance was that his light was his until it extended into my property; at which point it was harassing communication.

It literally took until the day before the deadline for the jerk to get a shield installed by the power company...and that's because he refused to pay the extra $5/month for a flat-panel light that did not produce glare.

Here is what those lights look like, and maybe the OP's neighbor can install a flat panel on his house?
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Old 11-02-2010, 01:00 PM
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Why is it that people have to write a letter or file a complaint with the city/county before they just go talk to a neighbor? The neighbor, unless you know he's a jerk from past situations, will probably be reasonable. Letters and calls from the local government usually put somebody in defensive mode right away. They will start their responses with words like, "it's my right" or "it's not illegal".
Old 11-02-2010, 01:13 PM
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I don't know whether you're referring to anybody in particular, so I'll post part of a previous response from my neighbor: Neighbor's response to us was that his need for security trumped our need for shade.

While everybody and every case might have variations, wouldn't it be reasonable to expect that people who install those lights ....already...know what affect they're having on neighbors? People that have a consuming need for security and privacy don't generally take well to a neighbor asking them to temper their own actions because it would benefit said neighbor.

When the power company was contacted, they told me that the neighbor was in control of the shading. They informed the neighbor that I and my wife were bothered by the new vapor light, and yet the neighbor did nothing to allow a shade. When I asked the City to help out, the engineer met the power company engineer at the guy's house. He continued to not allow any shade be placed on "his" light.

Telling the world that I intended to haul his ass into court on a criminal charge...that finally got his attention. Blythe, some people just need to be raging, self-centered, the-world-be-damned, jerks that don't respond to normal forms of communication
Old 11-02-2010, 01:15 PM
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Originally Posted by Blythe1022 View Post
Why is it that people have to write a letter or file a complaint with the city/county before they just go talk to a neighbor? The neighbor, unless you know he's a jerk from past situations, will probably be reasonable. Letters and calls from the local government usually put somebody in defensive mode right away. They will start their responses with words like, "it's my right" or "it's not illegal".
the man probably doesn't realize that he is disturbing anyone else. Envite him over for a cocktail and discuss it calmly.
Point out a shield made out of aluminum will reflect the light back onto his property and make it brighter.Also the light being so bright washes out you view of his boat, so you can't help him.
Old 11-02-2010, 01:26 PM
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Originally Posted by rc620 View Post
Greetings,

Wondering if someone might be able to help with a question. The folks across the canal from me just installed one of those streetlight style dock lights with a sensor that causes the light to come on at dusk.

The light is incredibly bright, and stayed on all last night and into the morning, turning off only when the sun came up. Even with blackout blinds, the rooms in our house are lit up like a Christmas tree, so nobody slept well.

I thought I had either heard, or read somewhere, that the light must be shielded to prevent the light from illuminating things across the canal. I'm going to send a very nice, well worded letter to the owner, to see if he'll turn the light off later in the evening, but if that fails, I want to know if I have other options in advance.

We can't tolerate it for much longer. ;?

Thanks!
Blame your family. If you hadn't been forced to sell your Panga by your insensitive housemates, none of this would be happening. Get rid of one good boat and there goes the neighborhood.
Old 11-02-2010, 01:26 PM
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Originally Posted by bamaboy473 View Post
I don't know whether you're referring to anybody in particular, so I'll post part of a previous response from my neighbor: Neighbor's response to us was that his need for security trumped our need for shade.

While everybody and every case might have variations, wouldn't it be reasonable to expect that people who install those lights ....already...know what affect they're having on neighbors? People that have a consuming need for security and privacy don't generally take well to a neighbor asking them to temper their own actions because it would benefit said neighbor.

When the power company was contacted, they told me that the neighbor was in control of the shading. They informed the neighbor that I and my wife were bothered by the new vapor light, and yet the neighbor did nothing to allow a shade. When I asked the City to help out, the engineer met the power company engineer at the guy's house. He continued to not allow any shade be placed on "his" light.

Telling the world that I intended to haul his ass into court on a criminal charge...that finally got his attention. Blythe, some people just need to be raging, self-centered, the-world-be-damned, jerks that don't respond to normal forms of communication
My post was just about people in general. It sounds like your neighbor is a jerk. Maybe you should have got one of those generator powered light plants and shined it at his house all night so he could see the intruders better. Just to help him out you know.

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