FOLEY – New regulations will limit the amount of light spilling over onto neighboring residential property in Foley.

The Foley City Council approved amendments to the city’s zoning ordinance that restrict the amount of light shining onto surrounding property. 

The amendment also places all of the Foley Beach Express in the Beach Express Overlay District.

Wayne Dyess, Foley executive director of infrastructure and development, said some residents have reported problems with lights from neighboring commercial sites on their property.

”What a lot of this is designed to make sure you don’t have light pollution or light trespass as they call it,” Dyess said. “So, your light should be for your property. Light for commercial property is going to be confined to those boundaries.”

He said light restrictions are common throughout Baldwin County and in other areas of Alabama.

Mayor Ralph Hellmich said better modern technology makes it easier to keep lighting from spilling over to surrounding property.

“The advent of LED lighting really facilitates keeping light from just flooding a quarter of a mile,” Hellmich said. “It won’t stop all light, obviously, at the property line, but it will direct it and keep it from being obnoxious and it does set a standard.”

Dyess said the Beach Express Overlay District changes will allow the city to have some control over improvements to undeveloped areas along the highway.

Foley had previously established an overlay district at major intersections on the Beach Express. The change expands the district to include other areas on the expressway. 

“To keep things in a continuous form, the whole area would be under this,” he said “There are very light design standards that wouldn’t affect the land use of the zoning. There are light, very light design standards that we want to have. This is an area of the city that’s relatively undeveloped along the Beach Express and we’re hoping that we can have a positive impact on how it looks in the future with the standards. Any projects that are underway would obviously be grandfathered.”

The standards for the Beach Express Overlay District have been in place for more than 10 years after being recommended in the city’s 2008 Comprehensive Plan. The amendment connects the gaps between the existing overlay areas to create consistency along the entirety of the Beach Express.