Crotched light shields in place

FRANCESTOWN — Following nine months of meetings, correspondence and deadline misunderstandings, and five months after an outdoor lighting variance was granted, Crotched Mountain Ski and Ride has installed 38 light shields on the poles along its ski trail. Numerous residents from abutting towns and beyond, as far away as Nelson and Stoddard, have complained to Francestown officials over the last year about light pollution from Crotched.

On April 23, the ski area’s general manager, Pat Terry, confirmed with the town that all required light shields were installed, according to an email Town Administrator Mike Branley wrote to the Ledger-Transcript on Thursday.

Town Code Enforcement Officer Ed Hunter performed a site visit Wednesday and confirmed compliance with the lighting variance granted by the Zoning Board of Adjustment.

“They have complied with the zoning requirements and we move on,” Hunter said in an interview Wednesday.

In past Zoning Board meetings about shields, Terry said he may need to install new lights to compensate for the light the shields take away. Hunter said that Crotched did not erect any new lights that would also require shields.

“The town appreciates Crotched Mountain’s ultimate cooperation to resolve this situation,” Branley said in the email.

On Nov. 26, 2013, the Francestown ZBA approved an outdoor lighting variance for lights in the new, 2012 expansion on Crotched Mountain’s summit, with the condition that all 38 lights would be shielded to angle light downward. It was determined at a public hearing in August 2013 that the issue of light pollution from the mountain has regional impact.

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