Freeport council agrees to turn out the lights

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FREEPORT — A street light on Harraseeket Road will be turned off after residents complained about light coming into their homes.

The Town Council on Tuesday unanimously approved turning off the light in front of 4 Harraseeket Road.

It came on in December for the first time in years, surprising residents Carol and Dale Hudson, and prompting them to ask for it to be turned off again.

“It lights up our whole front yard,” Carol Hudson said. “It’s been an annoyance.”

Hudson said she and her husband have lived on Harraseeket Road for five years and the light had never been on. It came on after Central Maine Power Co. replaced light bulbs along the street.

Now the light is on 24 hours a day, which Hudson says is not only annoying, but is wasteful.

“It’s a pretty big waste of electricity for the town, I think,” she said.

Hudson said she also considers it to be “light pollution.” She said the light shines into her home, and into homes at 2 and 3 Harraseeket Road, and also makes it difficult to see the stars from their front porch.

Hudson started a petition in December asking the town to turn off the light. 

“One hundred percent of the neighbors within 200 feet (of the street light) have signed the petition,” she said.

Susan Stowell of 9 Harraseeket Road was present at Tuesday’s council meeting to ask that the light be turned off.

“I would very much like the light pollution to be less,” she said. “I don’t see the purpose of the light.”

The street light is not near an intersection, and petitioners said the street doesn’t see heavy traffic, from vehicles or pedestrians. Their petition said the area is not “a high-accident location.”

“Let us be part of the rural area,” Stowell said.

She also said she will be coming before Town Council next month to ask that the street light in front of her property be shut off, too. She said it came on at the same time as the one at 4 Harraseeket Road.

Councilor Bill Rixon said he appreciates that the Hudsons are concerned about being able to see the stars, because he has an interest in astronomy.

“It really warms my heart very much to hear people care about this and wanting to sit out and look at the night sky,” he said. “It’s a tremendous part of our human heritage that we should be protecting.”

Councilor Kristina Egan said that while Freeport’s street-lighting criteria is about “trying to protect the rural rating, while also trying to provide safety,” the lights on Harraseeket Road are unnecessary.

“I think it’s very crucial to remove the light in front of us tonight,” she said, “as well as the one coming before us next month.”

Kate Gardner can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 125 or kgardner@theforecaster.net. Follow her on Twitter: @katevgardner.

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I'm a reporter for The Forecaster covering Freeport, Yarmouth, Chebeague Island, and Cape Elizabeth. I'm from a small town in NH no one's ever heard of. When not reporting, I can be found eating pasta and reading books, often at the same time.