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Commission enlightened on proposed ordinance

Don’t expect it to appear any darker at night in Harrison County any time soon. The Harrison County Advisory Plan Commission is still searching for a solution to appease both proponents and opponents of a lighting ordinance.
Many of the nine-member plan commission said Thursday night they have received numerous phone calls from residents who object to having the county adopt such an ordinance.
But they wondered aloud at their regular meeting where those objectors were.
‘They heard it was cut and dried, so why be here,’ offered Joe Martin, the Jackson Township Trustee who sits on the plan commission.
One man in the audience last week said he came to learn more about it after reading stories in this newspaper about the possibility of a lighting ordinance.
‘It starts out small and grows from there,’ said Tom Monroe, who added that he has an outside light controlled by a motion sensor. But he relies on the light for safety, not security.
Upon further discussion, he learned that any adopted ordinance would not affect him, as he lives in the Town of Corydon. Persons in the town’s two-mile fringe also would not have to adhere to the ordinance.
Two supporters of any ordinance that will eliminate light trespass ‘ Mark William Stevens and Capt. J.L. Shipley ‘ are anxious for the county to take action.
Stevens is an avid stargazer and has hosted numerous stargazing outings in the county, while Shipley is a resident who wants his wife to feel comfortable using the family hot tub at night, something she won’t do anymore, now that a neighbor’s security light spills onto their property and illuminates their deck.
‘I don’t have a problem with my neighbor illuminating his property,’ said Shipley. ‘But what right does he have to illuminate mine?’
The plan commission recommended Shipley try litigation to resolve his issue. Shipley had told them that he has already tried talking with his neighbor and even purchased a new fixture to be installed on the light. The neighbor rejected the offer, Shipley said.
‘I don’t want to go to that expense,’ Shipley replied to the commission’s suggestion.
Stevens contends that an ordinance would also save the county countless dollars in energy expenses.
‘We have to start somewhere,’ he said.
Plan commission member J.R. Eckart, who, as a county commissioner, would have to approve any ordinance passed by the plan commission, said he guessed he would have to find where the health hazard is regarding light pollution.
‘I know where it is with smoking,’ he said, after discussion turned to smoking ordinances. ‘I have to deal with health, safety and welfare’ of the county’s residents.
Victor McCauley moved to table adopting an ordinance to allow the plan commission to work on it some more.
‘I was for sending it forward,’ he said, ‘but after hearing the comments … Apparently, I wasn’t the only one getting phone calls’ against such an ordinance.
The motion, seconded by Jim Klinstiver, passed unanimously.
Now, the plan commission will look at a proposed ordinance some more at its next work session, which is set for Nov. 15 at 5:30 p.m. at the county annex building. The public is invited to attend.