Dark Sky

Dark Sky & Light Pollution

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Excessive lighting on an individual site can create a glow that tends to obscure the night sky and stars, and results in a community that is more urban and less rural. In order to maintain the rural, tranquil character of Portola Valley, a minimal approach should be taken to outside lighting.
The Town has approved lighting guidelines (see Design Guidelines document) that provide insight and guidance into appropriate plans for exterior lighting of a structure and/or property. In addition to the Design Guidelines, the Town's "Conservation Guide for Portola Valley Residents" has a section on Night Skies. The Conservation Guide is available in print at Town Hall and online.

What the Town Does:
  • Prohibits use of street lighting along Town roads
  • Regulates level of lighting for outdoor use through ordinances and Architectural and Site Control Commission review

How You Can Help:

  • Use minimal outdoor lighting, maintained under manual control, not with motion sensors or times
  • Direct outdoor illumination toward the ground
  • Avoid use of lights to accent outdoor architectural features