Much ado about lights

This weeks Town Council meeting we will discuss a proposed amendment to an ordinance regarding String Lights.  Yes, string lights – like the ones you put on a Christmas Tree, or businesses have put in some of their outdoor areas.


Last council meeting, staff brought forward an ordinance to change the “rules” regarding the use of these lights around town.  The ordinance change that was originally proposed, and unanimously recommended by the Planning and Zoning board:

  1. Removed the restriction of lights in only the Downtown Cary Town Center and allowed lights across town.
  2. Removed the “twinkle type lights”
  3. Allowed accenting of lights along rooflines and the perimeter of outdoor areas.


I liked the proposed ordinance the way it was written, but 5 of the 7 council members disagree with me.  (Thanks Don!)

NEW Ordinance

The NEW ordinance to be discussed/approved tomorrow makes these changes:

  1. Only allows these types of lights Downtown and in Mixed Use Overly Zoning Districts
  2. Only allows them in landscaping (not on rooflines) or other places,
  3. And only allows perimeter down-lighting that is shielded and only for sales areas
I like Lights

I’ve seen string lights tastefully used by our small businesses across the town to provide indirect, beautiful outdoor lighting at restaurants and other businesses with outdoor seating.

Folks enjoy dinner outside at Ashworth Village or Bosphorus– where the ambience is certainly set by the beautiful outdoor string lights.



I can’t imagine a summer evening at Goodberry’s without the tree lights.  (I’m checking to see if BOTH Goodberry’s are in Mixed Use Overlay districts.) 


I don’t feel it’s fair to limit the use of these lights to businesses and restaurants that are Downtown or in a Mixed Use Overlay District.  I’d like to be fair to all our businesses, and apply an ordinance equitably across the town.

But, let’s see how tomorrow goes. 🙂

As always, thanks for listening and please feel free to contact me with any questions, comments or concerns.


Featured photo by Memicat

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