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Shell Beach residents say new streetlights too bright

Angel Russell/KCBX
A sidewalk view at 11 p.m.

The city of Pismo Beach recently installed 56 new lights in downtown Shell Beach, but some residents say they are far too bright and leading to restless nights.

“I thought they were very pretty until they were turned on, and I couldn’t sleep,” said Shell Beach resident Jamie Mueller. “Nobody in my house could sleep.”

Mueller said she and neighbors reached out to the city with their concerns. For the past few weeks, says Jorge Garcia with the city of Pismo Beach, public works has tried a few solutions.

“We did start with installing solid 180 degree lights shields,” Garcia said. “Then we followed that by installing frosted glass on the lenses, and then we also tried to put inline voltage reducers.”

First city workers tried reducing the lights by 20 percent, then reducing the lights by 50 percent, Garcia said. But some residents say, those efforts haven’t helped.

“It’s like a football stadium when you look down the street,” said resident Dave Robichaud. “It’s almost like daylight inside the bedroom.”

Robichaud said despite having curtains on all his windows, the lights shine through underneath.

“It’s a little bit of anxiety going to sleep, wondering if I am even going to be able to sleep,” Robichaud said.

Mueller said even with her light-reducing curtains, there seems to be no way to keep the light out.

“Because of this, I had to go out and purchase a bunch of blackout curtains, so I’ve probably spent about $430 just trying to keep the light out,” Mueller said.

Garcia said the city will continue working to find a solution to help those residents get a good night sleep.

“We understand that these are very real concerns that they have,” Garcia said. “So we’ve been working diligently with the manufacturer and the contractors that will provide a permanent long-term solution, not just a Band-Aid fix.” 

Angel Russell is a former KCBX News reporter who started her career in journalism as a reporter and producer for KREX on Colorado's Western Slope; she later moved to the Central Coast to work for KSBY as weekend anchor and weekday reporter. She holds a BA in journalism from the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, and playing guitar and piano.
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