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Baltimore has a drive in theatre called Bengies has waged a lawsuit against its neighbor, Royal Farms store. Bengies had to close 3 weeks earlier than usual because of the extra light encroaching on it from Royal Farms.

With no light pollution ordinance in place in Baltimore County, it was up to a judge to make a decision whether Bengies had a case. The judge chose in favor of Royal Farms.

In 2003, Royal Farms was granted a special exception for their site specifying that their lighting plan does not “inappropriately spill onto adjacent properties, particulary the Bengies.” The store did not open until 2008.

This story illustrates the importance of lighting pollution ordinances. Such an ordinance would require shielding of light fixtures and appropriate use of lighting and this lawsuit could have been avoided altogether.

Light pollution ordinances also make for good neighbors. Sadly, without the laws in place, some homes and businesses will continue to overly light their properties encroaching on their neighbors and the precious night sky.