The Rancho Santa Fe Post

CDRC Confidential: Dark Sky

Dark Sky. No, it’s not a reference to film noir. It’s RSFA Regulation 14.01: “The ‘dark sky’ standard includes the maintenance of a predominant rural darkness characterized by limited and controlled emissions of light that distinctly differ from more intrusive suburban lighting patterns.” Our regulations comply with those of SD County which specifically state: “The maintenance of dark skies in San Diego County is vital to the two world-class observatories that depend on them for astronomical research: Palomar and Mount Laguna Observatories.”

 County of SD 

If you have not already been to Mount Palomar, you are missing a treat! It has a beautiful facility established in 1928, the same time as our Protective Covenant (PC), for those of us interested in architecture. It also has cool astronomy exhibits for everyone. This is where my son, looking rather worried, pointed to a photograph of the Andromeda Galaxy and relayed to me that it will collide with ours in 4 billion years. Like most moms, I trained myself to have a warp-speed response to immediately allay all fears, and provide comfort and security to protect against future nightmares, tears, and bed-wetting, so I said, “Not to worry, we’ll be extinct by then.” Mission accomplished!

Another highlight of a trip to Mount Palomar Observatory is FREE WATER!!! That’s right: FREE WATER! Take that, Rancho Santa Fe Irrigation District! Right next to the winding road to the observatory and charming picnic sites along the way is a spring with water free to anyone who collects it, including commercial water companies or you, dear reader. But, I digress, as usual, from the topic of revising our lighting regulations. One of the privileges of residing in the Covenant is being able to gaze at the sky and actually see the stars at night. Since most readers are reading online, I remind my Covenant readers to step outside and look up at the star-filled heavens this evening to transport themselves across time seeing the stars with their naked eye, as did those of our Latin-inspired world.

One of our newest CDRC colleagues volunteered her time and effort to revising our lighting regulations. An objective is to have reasonable regulations being respectful of astronomical exploration by adhering to Dark Sky while reflecting (couldn’t help the pun) new improvements in lighting. Some of the suggested revisions provided for uplighting, temporary recreational lighting, and entry gate lighting locations. Members can attend our Regulations Review meetings to provide their thoughts in discussions of these proposed revisions. (The next one is October 16th @ 8:30a, but check to see what regulations are on the Agenda). Any revisions will be reviewed by the Board and Members to insure the revised regulations maintain the Covenant as a rural oasis in an urban world, even at night. This policy may annoy non-resident Lyft drivers, but Covenant Members appreciate the benefits of Dark Sky.

Bright Lights

While on the subject of extinction and lights, our downtown could use some revitalizing and Star Power. The North Coast Repertory Theatre is looking for a site to construct a new 349-seat theatre. (Like me in my jeans, they are outgrowing their current venue, a smaller theatre in Solano Beach). Wouldn’t their building in Rancho Santa Fe brighten our town offering sophisticated evening and weekend entertainment appropriate to the “high class place of residence” as the PC calls Rancho Santa Fe? A joint effort of Covenant benefactors and Board to find a site would add another exciting major architectural project like the new pharmacy and grocery for CDRC Review. While personally I like Gehry’ s Disney Hall for music and Chinese Grauman/Stanford Theatres for film noir, until Members amend the Covenant otherwise, we’d love Latin-inspired architecture for a repertory theatre. (PC Par. 157)

The statements made in this column are the opinions of the author and not those of the Rancho Santa Fe Association Covenant Design Review Committee