A Beatty resident is asking for help after a new Family Dollar store installed a LED light in front of his house, but local and county officials said there’s not much they can do.
Rupert Bragg-Smith on Monday asked the Beatty Town Board to plant trees that would block the light that floods the inside of his house or create a countywide light trespass ordinance or law that would address what he calls a nuisance.
“I’m asking them to pass a law because they have a law against noise, but they don’t have any law against light, and the light can be just as much a nuisance as noise,” he said.
Bragg-Smith purchased 360 acres next to the Beatty Airport in 2004 and the vacant Napa store on Amargosa Street that he intended to serve as a roadhouse or a gathering place in support of his planned automotive testing facility. But as his plans didn’t materialize, Bragg-Smith ended up making the converted building his home.
The vacant lot across from Bragg-Smith’s house had been recently sold to the Family Dollar. The building was supposed to face Highway 95, Beatty’s main travel artery, but due to utility challenges, it faced Bragg-Smith’s building.
Bragg-Smith said his objection to the Family Dollar stems from the intensity of the light-emitting-diodes lights next to the store that is illuminated from dusk until about 10 p.m.
“The Family Dollar store emits a glaring, high-intensity LED light, from not only inside the building but from the light standards in the parking areas around the building,” Bragg-Smith said in a letter to Nye County Commissioner Lorinda Wichman earlier this month.
Bragg-Smith further argued that the use of his property has been significantly affected by the lights that flood his building with a “blinding intensity” each evening. He added that he has health concerns due to the effects of LED lights.
“I can no longer enjoy a quiet evening on my front porch, or visit with friends in front of my building, as the offensive glare forces us to move the conversation indoors. The lights have also created a serious safety concern, as I cannot identify individuals as they approach the building at night, as looking toward the building, light turns the individual to a shadow,” he said.
He also said that the value of his property has been compromised by the construction of the Family Dollar.
“Due to the extensive time, money and effort I have invested in my building, Nye County, and the town of Beatty encouraged me to establish a business here, to rehabilitate a deteriorating structure here, and to invest in this county,” Bragg-Smith said.
Officials, however, said that there’s little Nye County can do to remedy the issue.
Wichman said the only Nye County ordinances that would deal with the situation would be in the Pahrump Regional Planning District.
“A few years ago, county staff attempted to put a Special Use Permit (SUP) process throughout the county to allow the towns to weigh into commercial ventures in their communities. The plan for the countywide SUP ordinance was taken to each town board or town advisory board and each decided against it,” Wichman said.
County staff will once again attempt to explain the protections to the communities by the implementation of the SUP process. With the SUP ordinance approval, officials can bring about a countywide process, Wichman said.
“Unfortunately, that will do nothing to solve the problem Mr. Bragg-Smith is currently upset about. As I have suggested to him on more than one occasion, he needs to resolve the issue with the Family Dollar store owners. I’m sure it is a simple solution, as many businesses in Pahrump do, they can direct the lighting downward or screen the side facing Mr. Bragg-Smith’s home,” Wichman said.
A county or state cannot enact an ordinance or law that applies retroactively, as Family Dollar would be grandfathered.
“The best path forward would be the Special Use Permit process that would allow each community to weigh in on new commercial plans in their communities and still that would not apply to those that are already established, only those that come after the SUP goes into effect,” she said.
Nye County Planning Department Director Darrell Lacy said he doesn’t expect any new regulations to impact existing businesses.
“We do not regulate these issues outside of Pahrump, only fire safety and flood,” he said.
Beatty’s Family Dollar manager declined to comment.
Randy Guiler, vice president of Investor Relations at Dollar Tree, Inc. said he was not aware of the situation. He didn’t provide a comment by press time.
After a discussion on Monday, Beatty Town Board members told Bragg-Smith to submit an agenda item asking the town board members to pen a letter to Family Dollar to address the light issue.
If the issue doesn’t get remedied, Bragg-Smith said he will move elsewhere.
“I doubt that I could stay under these conditions and do business in that building,” he said.
Contact reporter Daria Sokolova at firstname.lastname@example.org. On Twitter: @dariasokolova