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Developing a Responsible Lighting Code

Additional Resources

Lighting for Policy Makers

Arguments for why your municipality should be concerned about light pollution.


Lighting Ordinance Examples

Links to example code from multiple communities:


Torrey, UT

Springdale, UT

Kanab, UT

Ketchum, ID


1. Purpose: Define your purpose. Essentially your purpose is to minimize light pollution, promote energy conservation, regulate outdoor lighting fixtures, and to
create a unifying, community-wide approach to outdoor lighting.

2. Applicability: Define where these lighting provisions will apply. All existing zones? All existing buildings and uses? New uses? How, where, and when do these rules apply?

3. Lighting zones: Establish lighting zones if there are separate areas within the town that have different lighting needs, natural conditions, levels of appropriate
light usage, and sensitivities to the various obtrusive aspects of outdoor lighting. Overlay zoning is a sensible and effective option. See International Dark
Sky Association’s Recommended Lighting Zones as a reference.

4. General requirements for all zone districts: Which standards apply everywhere? Define each requirement clearly and thoroughly. Some requirements will require specific numbers and measurements.

a. Shielding
b. Luminance
c. Height and space requirements
d. On-site lighting
e. Residential light trespass
f. Hours of operation
g. Streets and circulation in relation to lighting

h. Design standards:

1. Light fixtures

2. Light poles

3. Light color

4. Amount and location of lighting 

5. Lighting fixtures and the materials

6. Lamp type and wattage

5. Prohibited lighting: Define which lighting is prohibited in each zone such as uplighting, flashing or blinking lights, flood lights, spotlights, searchlights, neon lights, laser lights, backlit canopies or awnings, etc.

6. Exemptions: Decide which outdoor lights are exempt from the set provisions. Examples include approved historic lights, holiday lights, lights required for public
health and safety, government lighting, etc. Note that some exemptions may be time or date specific, like holiday lighting.

7. Lighting standards for specific uses: You may need to establish standards for specific uses or existing zones. Note that many requirements may be waived for
lighting operated by motion sensors or timers. Specific uses may include:

a. Intersections
b. Pedestrian areas
c. Walkway lighting
d. Parking area lighting
e. Gas stations
f. Signs (may extend to existing sign code)

g. Snow management

h. Recreation lighting

i. Flood/ security lighting

j. Landscaping

k. Towers

l. Hillsides

m. Ridgelines
n. Pools / water features
o. Other special cases

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