Ivins officials to review outdoor lighting ordinance proposed by dark sky advocates

The Horsehead Nebula as seen from Ivins, Utah, December 2016 | Photo courtesy of Ron Levandoski, Copernicus Observatory, St. George News

IVINS — A project started by two Ivins residents in January to improve, preserve and protect the night sky over Ivins and get the city officially designated as a Dark Sky Community has grown quickly.

Barely two months later, the Ivins Night Sky Initiative is a Utah nonprofit corporation and has a four-person board of directors, 10 volunteers, four technical advisers and some funding to sponsor community events and selected night sky-friendly retrofit demonstration projects, according to a press release from the organization.

And they are already getting results.

At the last Ivins City Council meeting, the council agreed to review the draft outdoor lighting ordinance submitted by the organization and pursue designation from the International Dark Sky Association as a Dark Sky Community.

“Things are moving really quickly,” said Adam Dalton, the Dark Sky Places program manager at IDA. “It is fantastic to see the progress the Initiative is making; their passion and organization skills are clearly evident.”

The 40-page draft ordinance will now go to the city’s technical review committee before heading to the Planning Commission and public hearings. The Ivins Night Sky Initiative’s technical committee is working on several research reports to help the city evaluate the proposed ordinance.

Mike Scott, the organization’s president, said in the press release that the draft doesn’t only include requirements set out by the IDA.

“It also incorporates a number of best practice additions we discovered while reviewing about a dozen other ordinances passed in the past few years by other communities, mostly in the Southwest,” he said.

As for community outreach, the Ivins Night Sky Initiative recently sponsored a student art contest at Vista School, with awards for the best interpretation of the night sky over Ivins. The mayor and City Council invited the five winners to its next meeting on Thursday to formally honor the students for their vision and interest in the night sky. Their artwork is on display at City Hall.

Patty Dupre, a founding director of the organization, said that’s just the beginning.

“Our new Events Committee is working on two exciting events for April, and more after that. We will post information about the April events on our website at IvinsNightSky.org next week,” she said in the press release.

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