The Beaufort County Council finds that the barrier island beaches of Beaufort County serve as nesting habitat for endangered and threatened sea turtles. Coastal development threatens the long-term survival of turtle hatchlings since evidence directly implicating lighting on barrier island beaches and reduced sea turtle nesting has been documented by numerous studies (Witherington 1992b). Artificial lighting near the nesting of sea turtles resulted in dramatic decreases in nesting attempts by sea turtles, including habitat loss, disorientation and eventual death (Raymond 1984a, Witherington and Martin 1996). The Endangered Species Act of 1973 prohibits all killing, harming and harassment of six species of sea turtles. Therefore all lighting for parcels abutting barrier island beaches and dunes shall adhere to the following standards: Existing development abutting barrier island beaches and dunes shall be required to retrofit all lighting fixtures to conform to the following standards by May 1, 2002, in order to ensure that no light is visible from the barrier island beaches or dunes.

Officer Richard McCantis & Andra Kolwaski at the entrance to Fripp Island

  1. Pole lighting shall be bollard louver lighting five feet tall or less that blocks the light source from view and contains illumination within an area of three to less than 73 degrees on the seaward side of the pole (refer to Figure 106-1743 for types of luminaries). Outdoor lighting shall be held to the minimum necessary and, where possible, shall be low pressure sodium for security and convenience.

  2. Bollard lighting shall be used in parking lots and shall be positioned so that no light is visible from the barrier island beaches or dunes.

  3. Lights mounted on walls, steps and balconies shall be fitted with louvers or hoods and at a height from the floor of three feet or less in order that the lights illuminate only the balcony and will not be visible from the barrier island beach or dunes.

  4. Tinted or filmed glass or solar screens and drapes shall be used in windows facing the barrier island beaches or dunes during the period indicated by subparagraph (g)(7).

  5. All lighting illuminating buildings or associated grounds for decorative or recreational purposes shall be shielded or screened such that it is not visible from any barrier island beaches or dune during the period of May 1 to October 31 of every year.

  6. Additional landscaping shall be required when necessary mitigate impacts from development on nesting areas.

  7. This section shall be in effect from dusk to dawn during the sea turtle nesting and hatchling period of May 1 to October 31 of every year.

  8. All other lighting must be shielded so that it is not visible from any barrier island beaches or dunes during the period of May 1 to October 31 of every year.

    (Ord. No. 99-12, 1 (05.230), 4-26-1999; Ord. No. 2001-15, 6-11-2001)