LED lights spark debate at Great Neck Village meeting

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LED lights spark debate at Great Neck Village meeting
Mayor Pedram Bral addresses a resident at a previous village board meeting. (Photo by Janelle Clausen)

Village of Great Neck trustees reiterated on Tuesday at a sometimes contentious board meeting that they intend to go forward with the installation of LED lights throughout the village, with Mayor Pedram Bral saying the board had carefully weighed the decision.

Patti Wood, the executive director of the Grassroots Environmental Education Group, said that using daylight-like lighting and blue-white lights can have an impact on the circadian rhythm and health. She also recommended using yellow and warmer lights.

“This is serious stuff. We are involved in public health issues,” Wood said. “We are a community that is overburdened already by environmental hazards and this is just yet another one.”

Officials said that in the two years since they introduced the idea of LED lights throughout the village, they have consulted studies, fielded concerns and held multiple meetings.

Bral said that the board has also reviewed various emails and studies. He said that concerns raised at the meeting were nothing they had not heard before and that many of the studies were not relevant to the LED light discussion.

“To start talking about circadian rhythm and decreased melatonin and breast cancer and to show studies that really do not do anything except create fear is very disturbing,” Bral said.

Joshua Rosenthal, a Huntington-based doctor who is board certified in otolaryngology and sleep medicine, disagreed with the mayor.

He said that the main issue with the street lights is that they cannot be dimmed.

Bral said that isn’t the case, pointing out that the village can put a shade behind the lights to keep them from bleeding into the homes.

“For you to come and say that we haven’t done our job without even coming to the meeting once, it’s really insulting. So if you know your facts, discuss facts,” Bral said. “If you don’t know facts, don’t create fear.”

“I’m not creating fear. This is a scientific fact,” Rosenthal replied. “Do you know how melanopsin works? It works with the blue light spectrum!”

“Please don’t yell,” Trustee Norman Namdar said.

“But you’ve been speaking in the same tone to me,” Rosenthal said.

Judy Rosenthal, no relation, a Great Neck resident who has long expressed concern over LED lighting, also questioned the village’s transparency about the lighting project.

She said that the smart system coming with the installation, for example, was not properly disclosed to residents. She said the potential for surveillance should raise alarms.

“There is a great reason to be concerned for the lack of information that’s being disclosed, you’ve got new technology going up, and Village of Great Neck residents have no awareness of this,” Rosenthal said.

Rosenthal added that the village’s consultant, RealTerm Energy, has another motive.

“It was discussed and said that it was a pilot study that was being held with Great Neck and I would not like for residents to get the wrong information,” Bral said. “And the fear mongering must stop. Please.”

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