Date: 2/13/20 7:43 am
From: Jay Anderson <jayanderson...>
Subject: [southbaybirds] Cupertino Bird Safe Meeting
Hi Birders,
My wife and I attended a portion of session 1 or Cupertino’s Dark Sky and Bird Safe public input meetings. We listened to the city planners’ brief presentations, but did not stay for the breakout discussion and readouts. The city is in feedback-gathering mode. They have looked at other neighboring cities for ideas. They aren’t proposing specifics yet. I have attached scans of the notes they passed out (the presentation wasn’t much more detailed). I sent an email with my specific comments which I’ve pasted below.

If you are a Cupertino resident, they’d like your inputs. If you are not a Cupertino resident, my impression is that Ellen and Erick are curious people and would probably want to hear your inputs too.

Their emails are: <elleny...> <ericks...> <mailto:<ericks...>


Hi Ellen & Erick,
Donna (my wife) and I were at your presentation. We didn’t want to stay for group discussion as we are packing to leave in the morning. Here are some of our thoughts. Feel free to follow up if you have questions.

Separate the topics. You have two important issues intermingled and it is not clear why. They are marginally linked at best. We support you on both fronts, but don’t think intermingling them is helpful.

On birds:
We are birders and have bird-killer windows. So, we are conflicted. We have viewed grids as unacceptably ugly, but your examples of the random/spotted screens looked like it might be palatable. We will investigate those more and may try them on at least one window for starters.
We don’t support only doing “sensitive areas” near parks and lakes. Birds thrive in the suburbs and even in denser areas if there is habitat. They aren’t just near the sensitive areas.
We don’t support excluding retail store fronts. They are part of the problem and their marketing needs don’t trump the birds survival needs. (You could say the same about our need to look at our view - as I said, we’re conflicted).
We support requiring screening on commercial buildings with expanses of glass.
We support ordinances against some of the atrium, greenhouse, glass tunnel type structures that you showed for commercial and residential.
We talked about a scenario where our house burns down and you won’t let us re-build with our big windows. We have a problem with that level of regulation of “small” residential (our house is 2800 sq ft). Similarly, if we bought a crappy tract house in Cupertino and invested a fortune to remodel, we’d have a problem with limiting glazing or mandatory screening. We’d be OK with “no transparent atrium”.

On dark sky:
This is an important topic that seems to have momentum around the country now. It is also much easier to address than windows. The city should be aggressive on this. They should measure and publicize the results. We support this because it impacts insects and wildlife but also because it impacts us. Light pollution drives us crazy - and not just when we’re trying to sleep. We don’t like glaring lights when I’m out at night and don’t like the neighbor’s glaring lights shining in our windows.
We support immediate requirements for all permits - new, remodel, etc.
Shielded lighting, lower intensity, lower color temperature (3000K LED bulbs are horrible)
We think going after existing problems in commercial and residential areas (not just new permits) is appropriate. Force change even for existing installations for the worst problems (elevated parking lot lights, porch lighting, uplighting, unshielded landscape and pathway lights).
We like the concept of “light trespass”. This seems like a good way to communicate the offensiveness of glaring lights.
We feel that you are missing a big educational opportunity and are solely focused on regulation.
Many people are simply ignorant of dark-sky concepts. One of them spoke up at the meeting before we left. He was confused about how birds fit in (to point above), but also completely clue-less with statements like “cities should be light 24 hours”. You have to get people up to speed before they can give you good feedback.
We have recently observed three new, glaring, high-intensity porch lights in our immediate neighborhood. They would install something appropriate if educated.
People associate lighting with security. Again, education about “appropriate” lighting could help.
We support much lower level of street lighting. Doesn’t the city have direct control over this. Your sodium-vapor street light shines in our guest room - you are trespassing :-) Atherton seems to survive just fine.
Well-executed motion-sensor lighting can be great. The poorly-implemented, cheap, motion-sensor flood light that my neighbor installed is not a solution, it is a problem. Be careful driving this as a solution in residential.
Even though Lehigh Cement (end of Stevens Creek) is not in the city’s jurisdiction, the city should try to influence their lighting. There are evenings/early mornings when the light pollution from that facility is egregious.

Thanks for working on these important topics. We support improvements in these areas and use of city resources to do it.
-Jay Anderson
-Donna Poggi
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