Trustees amend dark sky ordinance

By Rudy Hemmann

The Surveyor

The Berthoud Board of Trustees used the first meeting of the new year as a deck-clearing session, taking action on items which were pending from 2017 to make room for new agenda items in 2018.

The board unanimously passed a resolution designating the bulletin board next to the front doors of town hall and the town’s website as the official sites for posting meeting notices and “other town business.” This action is mandated by state statute and is to be carried out at the first business meeting of the municipality’s governing body each year.

The board ratified three positions to the Youth Advisory Commission and one position on the Berthoud Tree Advisory Committee. Sydney Holden and Maggie Langer were appointed to regular positions and Louis Torres IV to an alternate position on the Youth Advisory Commission and Bob Schneider was appointed to a regular position on the Tree Advisory Committee.

According to the information sheet provided for this topic, “In the summer of 2017, the town board directed staff to create a subcommittee to work on updating the International Energy Conservation Code (IECC), as the town is currently operating on the 2006 IECC. The subcommittee was comprised of the community development director (Cur Freese), town building official (Sue Bowles), deputy town clerk  (Michelle Adams), David Greg, a local builder and architect, Steve Byers and Robby Schwarz with EnergyLogic. Local builders were also invited to attend the meetings and were notified with copies of the 2015 code and amendments the first week of December 2017, and encouraged to make comments before the end of the year (No comments were received from local builders.)”

Following a lengthy period of discussion, during which Mayor Steve Mulvihill and Trustee Chris Buckridge raised questions regarding whether the board was overstepping a bit in adopting a code which mandates the level of insulation in any new construction, a motion to approve an ordinance for the purpose of repealing the 2006 IECC and adopting the 2015 IECC, with amendments. The motion passed on a vote of 6 to 1, with Trustee Chris Buckridge voting “No.”

The town’s lighting ordinance was the other holdover from 2017 to be addressed. It was brought to the attention of the board that the portion of the lighting code dealing specifically to the dark sky section was very difficult to enforce, especially with respect to single family residential properties. A subcommittee comprised of Meinte Veldhuis from the observatory, John Redwood of Mountain States Lighting, town board member Will Karspeck, and Curt Freese was pulled together to make recommendations to the board.

During discussion the trustees stated that the dark sky provisions were too confusing. Buckridge stated he would prefer a code that stayed with one type of measurement of light intensity whether it was lumens, foot candles or wattage of the bulb.

Later in the discussion he noted that if the code specified full cutoff light fixtures (no side lighting allowed) 80 percent of the problem with enforcement would be solved.

A motion was made to approve an ordinance amending the code for the purpose of repealing the current dark sky requirements and adopting amended dark sky regulations, with the addition of a summary page and adding the word sign or signs to item 10, landscape lighting.

Two representatives from the Colorado Department of Transportation, Scott Rees and Rich Christison, gave the trustees an overview of the Interstate 25 improvements the construction of which will begin in 2018. They thanked the trustees for the financial support of the project that the town had provided, and assured they were not at the meeting to ask for more money. However, they warned that their boss would be back for more money in the future. The I-25 express lanes project will improve the traffic situation from State Highway 14 in Fort Collins southward to Highway 402, southeast of Loveland.

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