Basalt wants dim bulbs at post office |

Basalt wants dim bulbs at post office

The Basalt Town Council came up with a bright idea this week – they want to dim the lights at the new post office.

Council members generally raved about the new facility Tuesday night at their regular meeting, but several members declared something must be done about the overpowering exterior lighting.

Councilman Steve Solomon said he’s received more comments about the post office lighting than any other issue during five years of involvement in town government. “This is a biggie,” he said.

“What I’m hearing is the solution is paint balls, wrist rockets, rocks,” Solomon added with a chuckle. “There’s a lot of creativity being expended to try to drop the wattage.”

Councilman Chris Lane said he had a family of four acquaintances drive up to his house and yell, “The post office lighting sucks.” Councilwoman Jacque Whitsitt said a constituent told her the lit-up building looks like a Black Eyed Pea chain restaurant.

Solomon credited the Postal Service for compromising on the design of the building. “This thing started out as a Styrofoam, stucco box,” he said. But despite the improved design, the lighting makes it look like “a Southern California prison,” according to Solomon.

The Postal Service is immune to Basalt’s lighting regulations, so all town officials can do is ask the agency to tone down the lights. Some council members want to ask before construction is completed. Others want to wait until the facility is open.

The new 14,163-square-foot facility is on the Midland Avenue extension, between the Roaring Fork River and Highway 82. The glow it creates is clearly visible – actually unavoidable – from the highway.

Postal Service officials have said they hope to open the facility next month.

Basalt Mayor Rick Stevens said he supports letting them concentrate on getting it open before requesting different exterior lights. He noted that town officials aggressively lobbied the Postal Service for concessions on the design – and had their requests honored.

“The building and facility are such a success,” said Stevens, adding that people are saying, “Wow.”

Stevens said he favored “letting some things slide,” at least for now. He proposed approaching the Postal Service about changing the lighting after it is open.

Lane questioned whether that would be too late. The best time to lobby for changes is while the construction crews are still on site.

Solomon made a motion that asks the town staff to come up with an action plan, then bring it back for the board’s review.

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