If the council subsequently votes to join the association, new developments would eventually be limited to the association’s standards on how much light they could emit into the night sky. Town officials plan to further research the designation. The association has an application process that takes one to three years, according to a staff memo posted with the meeting agenda.
Joining the association would effectively allow Flower Mound to bypass Texas House Bill 2439. The bill approved in 2019 prohibits a municipality from limiting the installation of building materials that create light pollution if the materials are approved by national model codes. During the session earlier this year, Texas Senate Bill 1090 provided an exemption for municipalities that state an intention to join the International Dark-Sky Association.
According to the International Dark-Sky Association’s website, the group's in-state portfolio includes Lakewood Village on Lewisville Lake and the Central Texas communities of Fredericksburg, Dripping Springs, Horseshoe Bay, and Wimberley and Woodcreek jointly. Thirty-two municipalities participate in the association worldwide, with 25 members in the United States, the website stated.
Flower Mound would be the largest Texas municipality to join the organization, according to the latest population estimates provided by each referenced municipality.
According to the memo, Flower Mound adopted an outdoor lighting ordinance in 2002 that has been deemed effective. Joining the International Dark-Sky Association could include more stringent regulations.
According to the association’s website, its standards include discouraging the use of unshielded floodlights and unshielded streetlights and making sports field lighting less invasive to make the night sky more visible.