Deerfield Beach – Lee and Deborah
Bigbee have a problem with the security lights installed
about 18 months ago outside their Penthouse North condo,
shining into their living and sleeping spaces and keeping
them awake at night.
The lights were
installed for security and safety purposes, about 25 or 30
feet from the ground. The Bigbees live on the third floor.
HOA President Jim Murray said the lights are shining away
from the Bigbees but are reflecting off the palm trees.
The couple alleges the lights were installed without
permits. “The homeowners association here [at Penthouse
North] put up lights right outside our window. And they did
it without a permit.”
On Nov. 15, 2022, a building permit was filed to install two
LED wall pack fixtures on the building. Murray says the
permit is still pending. He estimates the lighting was
installed in May of 2021.
Failure to obtain a permit can result in the offender paying
double the usual fee.
“These lights were installed to replace lights that stopped
working. It was a minor installation. I was not aware a
permit was necessary,” Murray said.
A light shines at night outside the Bigbees third
According to Planning and Development
Services Director Eric Power, the type of lighting
determines if a permit is necessary. “A simple rule is, if
you can plug into an outlet, it does not need a permit. But
if you need to mount it to a wall with screws or some other
permanent means, a permit may be required,” he said. “Also,
please note that excessive lighting can be a yard
encroachment and if you have neighbors complaining about the
security lights, it can become an issue with the city.”
The side view of the security light outside
the window of the Bigbees condo.
The outdoor security light is visible inside
the Bigbees residence.
On Nov. 29 the city sent notice of a code
violation to Penthouse North Association, Inc. regarding
Bigbees complaint, stating the need for correction for
“light encroachment.” It states, “Please make the proper
arrangements to shield the light direction into the unit.”
The document sets a Jan. 25 hearing before a special
magistrate if the violations are corrected by then. The
Bigbees have hired a lawyer “to help guide us in this
battle.” Lee said he wants to make sure he is doing things
right and that the lawyer will seek a solution with the
Murray said he is aware of the deadline. “I’ve already made
arrangements to have the lights changed. Regarding a
timeline, “I know the permit was not closed out yet and I’m
sure we will need a permit to make any changes.”
Murray said most people like the lights. The area is dark
and there are no streetlights. Women were afraid to get out
of their cars at night.
Lee Bigbee was one of the people sending emails to put in
security lights after alerting the board that he saw
teenagers trying door handles in the carport. Thieves will
often crouch in between cars and try random door handles to
see which vehicles are easy to access.
Asked if he had spoken with other neighbors to see if the
lights are bothersome, Lee Bigbee said the person on the
second floor comes here only two weeks a year; the person on
the first floor keeps his blinds closed day and night.”