Dark Sky

Dark Sky & Light Pollution

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Excessive lighting on an individual site can create a glow that tends to obscure the night sky and stars, and results in a community that is more urban and less rural. In order to maintain the rural, tranquil character of Portola Valley, a minimal approach should be taken to outside lighting.
The Town has adopted an Outdoor Lighting Ordinance to provide clear regulations regarding allowable outdoor lighting while maintaining the Town's rural character. In addition, the Design Guidelines provide insight and guidance into appropriate plans for exterior lighting of a structure and/or property, and the Town's "Conservation Guide for Portola Valley Residents" has a section on Night Skies. The Conservation Guide is available in print at Town Hall and online.

What the Town Does:
  • Prohibits use of street lighting along Town roads
  • Regulates level of lighting for outdoor use through ordinances and Architectural and Site Control Commission review

How You Can Help:

  • Use minimal outdoor lighting, controlled by manual switches, photo-cells, timers and/or motion-sensors
  • Shielded fixtures that direct light downward
  • Avoid use of lights to accent outdoor architectural features

Policies/Ordinance
Design Guidelines
Lighting Ordinance