Winona needs a light pollution ordinance


From: Joal Heller

Recently I’ve been having issues with light pollution, caused by my neighbor’s motion-sensor light. Winona does not have an ordinance that restricts rental property owners from placing motion-sensor lights in areas that disturb residential homes. How can the city get such an ordinance, regulating outdoor lighting fixtures? The state of Minnesota provides the 2018 Minnesota Statute 16B.328 Outdoor Lighting Fixtures Model Ordinance that defines an outdoor lighting fixture to include motion sensors, and light pollution to mean “the shining of light produced by a luminaire above the height of the luminaire.” Minnesota Statute 16B.328 also provides a framework for a model ordinance for use by cities, counties and towns in subd. 2. Medina, Minn., has outdoor lighting ordinances that Winona should consider in order to better protect homeowners. See

The pollution from my neighbor’s light is disruptive to my daily life and effects my privacy and sleep patterns. When I go outside it causes a glare, resulting in loss of visual performance and visibility. For example, when one of the many renters of the building on the first or second floor of the apartment come home after bar close, or if my dog needs to go outside, a very bright LED light illuminates my garage, backyard, and bedroom. It takes time for my eyes to adjust; it’s so annoying! I’ve sought all forms of help from the city, talking to police officers, city administrators, and my second-ward district commissioner. No one has an answer to my problem. I spoke with the owner of the building, and although a small amount of relief was gained by him turning the light inward a bit, he does not live in the area and my problem remains.

I enjoy my quiet neighborhood, the dark sky and stars, my privacy and sleep. It is wrong that no one can do anything about this intrusion of my space. The pollution from this light is trespassing on my private property and it is not wanted or needed. Legal remedies are not within my budget. Does anyone have a helpful suggestion on what may be done to remedy this problem?


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