By Brian CHERNICK
With street lighting in La Crescenta still in limbo, a meeting scheduled for later this month hopes to make moves in one way or the other
Despite reaching enough signatures from La Crescenta residents in a petition to install additional streetlights north of Foothill Boulevard on La Crescenta Avenue, the initiative continues to face opposition from those in the community as discussions are to be extended to the next meeting on Sept. 27.
Community members have been pushing to have streetlights placed at two intersections, Los Olivos and Fairmount, on La Crescenta Avenue and along the street between those two locations. A primary concern by residents is overall safety while walking along the road. Some residents have described the need to use flashlights to take guests to and from their cars when visiting.
Efforts to light up La Crescenta have been an ongoing process, stretching as far back as November 2014. If finally successful, 14 streetlights will be placed on 13 existing wood poles along the road covering 28 parcels with one additional wood pole being erected.
The efforts recently surpassed the 60% of necessary petition signatures to move forward with plans. Discussions were to be held in the last meeting on Aug. 23, but a number of community members reached out to Los Angeles County Supervisor Michael Antonovich’s office expressing concerns about light pollution and a possible violation of local outdoor lighting rules.
The Dark Skies Ordinance is a regional outdoor lighting ordinance originally drafted for the Antelope Valley. Some Crescenta Valley council members and community members, including Land Use Committee member Ines Chessum, have cited this ordinance during town council meetings and expressed interest in implementing it in the Crescenta Valley.
Chessum described the adoption of the ordinance as being beneficial for all residents of La Crescenta, including wildlife.
“With the growth of urban environments light pollution has become a concern given that it negatively impacts both people and wildlife,” Chessum said. “The answer is not no light at all, but adequate, purposeful, and well planned lighting zones within a district.”
Since La Crescenta is adjacent to the Los Angeles National Forest and several other communities have signed on to the Dark Skies Ordinance, Chessum said that La Crescenta could become part of the larger Rural Outdoor Lighting District if there is enough community support.
Chessum requested a moratorium on streetlight expansion in order to gather greater community support for the move and has partnered with community member Steve Pierce to gather and deliver letters of opposition to Supervisor Antonovich.
Planning and Public Works Deputy Edel Vizcarra fielded these concerns from the town council and asked that no movement be made on the issue until staff members out of Antonovich’s office can discuss the proper legal process of expanding lights or stopping such an expansion.
“The way the process is laid out … if they get the necessary [number] of votes it’s something that we actually have to pass,” Vizcarra said. “There is, however, a way to re-petition the neighborhood and see if people have changed their mind.”
Vizcarra is hoping to discuss and establish a community-wide street lighting standard during discussion with the town council. There are no immediate dates as to when the supervisor’s office staff members will be meeting with the town council, but the upcoming meeting on the 27th of this month is expected to be primarily focused on the future of streetlights throughout the area.