A thunderous meeting about LED lights in Great Neck

A thunderous meeting about LED lights in Great Neck
Mark Carter, a vice president of sales at RealTerm Energy, explains the science behind LED lights. (Photo by Janelle Clausen)

An update about the installation of LED lights in the Village of Great Neck prompted sharp exchanges between officials and residents at a board meeting on Tuesday night, with both sides saying the other was bending the truth.

Residents raised questions and concerns about whether the lights are penetrating people’s homes, possible health issues stemming from blue light and how many people are satisfied with the lights.

While some in the audience said the lights are penetrating their homes, village officials said that is not the case.

“When people say – and we had complaints and I went and I looked myself and [village Clerk-Treasurer] Joe [Gill] did – that the light enters their house, when you look at the cone, the cone actually goes this way and ends right at the sidewalk, but you can see the light,” Mayor Pedram Bral said, gesturing with his hands. “It doesn’t enter your house.”

One resident said that this was “a lovely story,” but not true, and that the mayor was calling someone a liar.

Loud exchanges between some residents, as well as the mayor, followed, punctuated by interruptions of answers to some questions.

It reached a point where Bral said one vocal resident was “not distracting” but “disturbing the community,” called for a meeting recess and shouted for the audience to “stop already!”

“You guys are taking the meeting as a hostage. [If] you cannot accept the truth, leave the room,” Bral said.

Mark Carter, a vice president of sales at RealTerm Energy, who is serving as the village’s consultant on the LED street lighting project, and officials said 832 light fixtures have been installed throughout the village.

Village officials have said the installation of the lights will improve safety and save money in the long run.

Officials also noted that as of Jan. 15, they dimmed the lights to 80 percent strength and lower in a few cases.

Carter said the installation is effectively complete.”We expect all outstanding items to be wrapped up by the end of the mont,” he said.

Three gateways have been installed for the management of the smart city system, which uses sensors and smart cells to monitor changing conditions and adjust lights accordingly.

Following the recess Rebecca Gilliar, a civic activist who asked questions about lights and documentation about people who have been killed by cars in the village, said that the meeting had lost a sense of decorum.

But, she said, at many school board meetings, trustees faced by frustrated residents would respond more carefully, often with a “thank you” and not too much else.

“There was a way to handle what was going on and that way wasn’t the way you handled it. And part of the reason that happened was [that] she was right,” Gilliar said. “By implication, you told somebody that they had lied, and all you had to do was say, ‘if that’s how it sounded, I didn’t mean to say it, I would never call anyone a liar from the dais.'”

David Kahen, another resident who spoke, expressed support for the lighting and said he was “sick and tired” of people saying falsely that most people were against the new street lighting.

“They have improved my quality of life. You guys have done a fantastic job,” Kahen said. “Don’t let a few in the village make it seem like these lights are bad for us, OK? They have used every excuse in the book.”

Kahen added that the board can “never make everyone happy.”

In other business, village officials discussed the possibility of digitizing Building Department records and introducing a local law to bring one zone up to date when it comes to accessory buildings like garages.

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  1. Actually you can make everyone happy by putting in low glare lower blue LED street lights. That is why do many cities including Los Angeles, Phoenix, Chicago, Montreal and Tucson are doing so. Those who are complaining have science on their side. I speak from experience in Houston, TX. Even if you add a house side shield to the white LEDs, an enormous amount of white light still gets through ordinary window coverings from the bright reflection on the street, they are still hell to drive through for shorter drivers, and people forget that the entire sky turns white instead of amber. With no lights at all on in my back yard, there is a white glow like dusk at all times, especially bright on cloudy nights. This is especially disruptive for sleep. People here have said their lives are ruined by the lighting. Listen to the complainers. Better options are cheaper. LA reduced energy use another 20 to 30% when they moved to warmer white better shielded LED street lights.


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