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Marks seeks standards for stadium lights in residential areas

County Councilman David Marks wants Baltimore County to establish standards for lighting for stadiums and athletic fields to help minimize the intrusion that lights from those facilities can have on residential neighborhoods.

"We should have looked at this years ago," Marks said, "instead of looking at it case by case, and reinventing the wheel every time."

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He is seeking approval for Resolution 106-11, which he introduced Monday, Sept. 19.

The measure requests the Planning Board to review laws and regulations governing lighting standards in the county and recommend revisions to provide "a definitive set of regulations for energy-efficient lighting standards for stadiums and athletic fields" in residential neighborhoods that will minimize the impact the lights have on surrounding homes.

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Since it's the County Council that would vote on any measure resulting from the resolution, "basically we are asking the Planning Board for technical advice," he said.

The Baltimore County Zoning Regulations and the Comprehensive Manual of Development Policies contain standards for lights and lighting fixtures in residential areas that dictate the control, direction, glare and intensity of lighting, as well as hours of illumination.

The council would be seeking the same type of controls for lighting for stadiums and athletic fields — if the resolution were passed, he said. Marks said he is unaware of any opposition to such a measure.

"My hope is that the Planning Board comes up with lighting standards that can reduce the impact of these facilities on surrounding neighborhoods," he said.

Marks said he was motivated, in part, by an ongoing conflict between the Loch Raven Village Community Association and Calvert Hall College High School following the installation of lighting that was installed for the school's baseball stadium.

When the 80-foot-high lights are lit at night, they "totally light up" the houses on Putty Hill Avenue facing the stadium, according to Community Association president Gretchen Sarkin, who owns one of those houses.

Sarkin and her board have sought assurances from Calvert Hall about when and how often the lights will be used, but the board has no bargaining power and would have no power of enforcement should they reach an agreement.

"Part of the difficulty is that there are no county standards governing stadium lighting," said Marks, who has been meeting with the village leadership and Calvert Hall officials regarding the lighting.

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"This is a countywide issue, as there are stadium areas at both public and private schools throughout the county," he said.

After being introduced at Monday's County Council meeting, the resolution will be discussed at the council's Sept. 27, work session, beginning at 2 p.m. at the Historic Courthouse in Towson.


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