Dark, Red Then Amber On E. Atlantic For Turtle Season

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Staff report

If you go for an evening walk along the beach this month, you may notice it is much darker.

March 1 marks the start of sea turtle season, which lasts eight months, and dictates how much light cities can shine near nesting sites.

And due to a new rule by Florida Power & Light that states the company will no longer service light fixtures that are owned by the city on the company owned light poles, that meant the old sodium-vapor lights had to go.

FPL proposed swapping the old lights for new LED lights. Last summer, three options were pitched to commissioners.

The options proposed were: installing the LED lights that are more energy efficient and use them from Nov. 1 to the end of February and then go dark from March 1- Oct. 31 during sea turtle season; install FPL’s red turtle friendly lights that can stay on year-round; or the city could pay for its own fixtures and poles totaling about half a million dollars.

Commissioners opted to go dark.

But the thought of a popular part of Delray going dark has some residents concerned about safety.

The Beach Property Owners Association petitioned to commissioners and city officials last summer when the topic first came up during an August meeting to find a better solution.

Now, the city is working to find the red turtle friendly lights to install. Delray public works director Susan Goebel-Canning said that FPL doesn’t have the lights in stock.

A vendor with the lights has been identified, but as of press time the city did not have a time frame on when the lights will be installed, Goebel-Canning said.

She said FPL is also working to get a preferred amber light approved for use from the FWC.

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