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Welcome to Everything Night Sky for the City of Dripping Springs!

The stars at night remain big and bright deep in the heart of the Texas thanks to the hard work and dedication of Texas Hill Country residents and businesses. In 2014, Dripping Springs was the first city in Texas to be designated as an International Dark Sky Community, and the sixth one in the world. Since then, the City and its residents and business partners have diligently maintained that unique distinction. We're extremely proud of our beautiful night sky. It's one of the things that makes Dripping Springs the best little city in Texas!

Come back to this page often for updated information on the Dripping Springs Night Sky, including information on events, projects, residential and business lighting tips, and other night sky happenings!

In 2014, Dripping Springs was the first city in Texas to be designated as an International Dark Sky Community, and the sixth one in the world, by the International Dark-Sky Association (IDA).

The IDA is an organization that works to protect the night skies for present and future generations. You can learn more about the IDA below or via the IDA Texas Chapter website:  http://www.idatexas.org/

Dripping Springs has maintained our International Dark Sky Community designation for the past six years. We’re proud of that distinction and work diligently to protect our skies through lighting ordinances, public education and more.

To see all that we do to protect our night skies, you can see our annual report here: Dripping Springs IDA Dark Sky Community Annual Report

And you can see the announcement in 2014 here: Dripping Springs Named 1st IDA Community in Texas

All across America, birds are migrating to their new homes. To help in the migration, the City of Dripping Springs launched Lights Out Dripping Springs, asking residents and businesses to take a pledge to turn off exterior lights during September and October and March through May.

Lights Out Dripping Springs is part of Audubon’s national initiative. Audubon established the national Lights Out program in 1999 to protect birds from light pollution. The strategy is simple: by turning off excess lighting during the months migrating birds are flying overhead, communities can help provide them safe passage between their nesting and wintering grounds.

Thank you to everyone who took the Lights Out Dripping Springs pledge!  We'll be back in the spring as the birds return to their summer home.

In the meantime, it's always a great thing to turn off unnecessary lights. Let's keep our night sky beautiful.

See the Lights Out Dripping Springs Proclamation here, that is applicable for both the fall and spring: Lights Out Proclamation

Lighting Ordinance for Residential Properties Zoom Presentation

October was Hill Country Night Sky Month!

As part of the celebration, the City held a presentation on October 28, 2020, on our Outdoor Lighting Ordinance for Residential Properties. The graphic presentation is below.

Lighting Ordinance for Residential Properties

See below for the actual zoom presentation.

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  • IDA logo2

    The International Dark-Sky Association (IDA) is the recognized authority on light pollution and is the leading organization combating light pollution worldwide.

    IDA's Mission

    • IDA works to protect the night skies for present and future generations.

    IDA's Goals

    • Advocate for the protection of the night sky
    • Educate the public and policymakers about night sky conservation
    • Promote environmentally responsible outdoor lighting
    • Empower the public with the tools and resources to help bring back the night

    History

    International Dark-Sky Association (IDA) is a 501(c)(3) (tax ID #: 74-2493011) founded in 1988 and is dedicated to protecting the night skies for present and future generations.

    Light pollution – the inappropriate use of artificial light at night – is an environmental pollutant that harms our planet and robs us of the opportunity to experience the wonder of a natural night sky.

    Today, IDA is the recognized authority for night sky protection and has taken the lead in identifying and publicizing the negative impacts of artificial light at night on human health, wildlife and climate change.

    They work with the public, city planners, legislators, lighting manufacturers, parks, and protected areas to provide and implement smart lighting choices.

    Their public outreach efforts provide solutions, quality education, and programs that inform audiences across the United States and throughout the world. At the local level, our mission is furthered through the work of our U.S. and international chapters representing five continents.

    For more information, check out the IDA here, https://www.darksky.org/ or the Texas chapter here, http://www.idatexas.org/

    "When people enter the City of Dripping Springs area at night, many of them notice something is different - the skies over the City of Dripping Springs are not spoiled by light pollution.  This is evidence that the City and the people who live in and near the City value the natural environment, including the beauty of the Hill Country and high quality of the night sky.”

     — Mayor Bill Foulds —

     

    Safety, economy, respect for our neighbors and preservation of the night sky are the principles governing the Lighting Ordinance of Dripping Springs.  In summary, it requires the use of appropriate lighting for the space, enhances traffic safety by preventing glare, and prevents light trespass by requiring that the light be kept on the property it’s intended to illuminate.

    Do My Lights Conform to the Outdoor Lighting Ordinance?

    A simple first step to determine if your lights comply with the Outdoor Lighting Ordinance is to make sure no one can see the source of your lights - the bulbs or lens that refracts the light from the bulb – from any other property. Secondly, except for a limited number of very small landscape lights, no lights are allowed to project above any structure on your property.

    For additional information or questions, please contact Sarah Cole, Building Official/Utility Coordinator at scole@cityofdrippingsprings.com or call 512-858-4725. The below links provide specific information to help you choose and shield light fixtures to meet ordinance requirements, along with other helpful information. 

    Link to Find City of Dripping Springs Lighting Ordinance

    Light Fixture "Quick Guide"

    Photos/Guidance for Residential Outdoor Lighting

    Photos/Guidance for Non-Residential (Commercial) Outdoor Lighting

    Lighting Ordinance Compliance Agreement

    Lighting Plan Checklist

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