Manvel’s Planning, Development, & Zoning Commission (PD&Z) is working on a dark sky ordinance. This ordinance will try to limit the light given off by exterior light fixtures that homeowners and businesses place on their property. The reason given was to more easily see the stars in the night sky. They want to control the brightness of the light and its angle of projection. I do not object to limitations placed on businesses and parking lots but do have a problem with limitations on residential lights. The goal is to limit the intrusion to neighboring properties by requiring the light extend no more than the property boundaries and to control its angle to not rise above 90-degrees. In my opinion that should be something handled as a civil matter between neighbors and not made into law. The police department can better spend its time patrolling the streets looking for real criminals rather than dealing with petty arguments between neighbors. PD&Z seems to be concerned generally with subdivisions but the law will punish all homeowners even if they do not live in a subdivision.
If the ordinance passes we will have the ability to only install lights the city approves. If the city controls the way we illuminate our properties, next could be the kinds of fences we can build, the trees and flowers we can plant, and other such things that should be each of our personal choice. I understand the need for ordinances to guide our city toward a nice and prosperous appearance but it becomes overreaching when it controls the way I want to decorate my yard. Many Manvel citizens choose not to live in a subdivision because they do not want to deal with a Home Owner’s Association. It seems that PD&Z is working to make the city of Manvel a Home Owner’s Association for all of us. I absolutely wish citizens would become more aware of what our city government is doing. I believe PD&Z is providing misleading information leaving me now questioning every decision the group makes.