Moss' Kendall neighborhood is one of many in the area that has begun to switch from high-pressure sodium light bulbs to more energy-efficient LED light fixtures. The transition is part of an ongoing contract between the county and Florida Power & Light that will affect 50 special taxing districts with more than 57,000 residents, according to county officials.
The installations were originally proposed and accepted as a cost-savvy alternative to the sodium bulbs that are quickly becoming obsolete. But complaints about the new bulbs have plagued the project as of late. The main critique is they don't cast wide-enough light. Residents say the LED beams are too concentrated and downward-facing, leaving dark areas between light poles. www.ledlightinside.com
The new fixtures have become a bête noire for Moss, who first mentioned constituent complaints along with his own reservations about the lights at a June 4 commission meeting. According to Moss, LED bulbs might be welcome in a neighborhood with little crime, but they're a potential safety issue in more dangerous communities. The "dark spots" mentioned by Moss are likely to be more pronounced in older neighborhoods, where light poles were installed 300 feet apart. The distance between poles in newer developments is closer to 100 feet.
Lorena Guerra-Macias, who oversees special taxing districts at the county's parks, recreation, and open spaces department, defended the new light fixtures at the meeting in early June. According to Guerra-Macias, the department has received relatively few complaints about the bulbs and expects residents will come around to the new fixtures. For any issues that remain, FPL plans to return to neighborhoods following installation, likely in October or November, to see whether additional light fixtures are required. www.ledlightinside.com
But the commission was not satisfied with such a far-off audit and ultimately sided with Moss on the issue. A motion was passed to suspend all FPL installation activities until a review of affected areas could be completed. Meanwhile, installations will continue in municipalities such as Miami Gardens, which has its own agreement with FPL to replace city lights with LED bulbs.
During the June 18 meeting, Moss said he'd been told that FPL had ignored the motion and was continuing on with installations. The utility company denies this.
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