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Thread: Residential exterior lighting standards

  1. #1
    Cyburbian lilschmidty's avatar
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    Residential exterior lighting standards

    The City I work for has been receiving complaints regarding the intensity of exterior lights (e.g. porch lights, floodlights, front house lights). The City's former cheif officer has requested that we draft an ordinance to limit the intensity of lighting in residential, single-family, districts. Ironically, the Police Dept. is telling people that lighting deters crime.

    Anyway, if you know of any community that has such an ordinance that regulates exterior lighting in residential districts please let me know.

    Thanks for you help.

  2. #2
    Cyburbian mike gurnee's avatar
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    Search "dark sky" ordinances. It helps if the concept is included in your comp plan. The problem is enforcing this retroactively.

  3. #3

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    Athens, Georgia

    Athens regulates - you can find the ordinance on Municode's website - ARTICLE I. ZONING - CHAPTER 9-19. OUTDOOR LIGHTING AND GLARE STANDARDS - Athens-Clarke County, Georgia - Code of Ordinances.

    In my opinion - a successful lighting ordinance hinges on the enforcement aspects. Do you have officers who work after dark?

  4. #4
    moderator in moderation Suburb Repairman's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by mike gurnee View post
    Search "dark sky" ordinances. It helps if the concept is included in your comp plan. The problem is enforcing this retroactively.
    Definitely. The solution for the police department is not MORE lighting, it is BETTER lighting. Appropriate, well-designed lighting with reduced glare (full cut-off fixtures, more lighting fixtures at a reduced height versus fewer but taller fixtures, footcandle min/max limits) can deter crime and make it much easier for police officers and vigilent citizens to observe activity during the night. Badly designed lighting, regardless of brightness, can lead to uneven light distribution and shadows, and the glare can impair abilities to accurately observe activity during the night.

    Retroactive enforcement is extremely difficult, especially on residential. You will need to have enforcement officers available to investigate at night to confirm complaints, particularly since it sounds like the PD won't be willing to help you out.

    "Oh, that is all well and good, but, voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country."

    - Herman Göring at the Nuremburg trials (thoughts on democracy)

  5. #5
    Cyburbian ColoGI's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Suburb Repairman View post
    Definitely. The solution for the police department is not MORE lighting, it is BETTER lighting. Appropriate, well-designed lighting with reduced glare (full cut-off fixtures, more lighting fixtures at a reduced height versus fewer but taller fixtures, footcandle min/max limits) can deter crime and make it much easier for police officers and vigilent citizens to observe activity during the night. Badly designed lighting, regardless of brightness, can lead to uneven light distribution and shadows, and the glare can impair abilities to accurately observe activity during the night.

    Retroactive enforcement is extremely difficult, especially on residential. You will need to have enforcement officers available to investigate at night to confirm complaints, particularly since it sounds like the PD won't be willing to help you out.
    I used to be a member of the International Dark Sky Assn and I can tell you that you want to live in a city that treasures the night sky. Plenty of ordinances there to pick and choose from to stop this pernicious theft.

    Second, lighting isn't hard to enforce. A past city had such an ordinance and the enforcement person didn't have a problem. And in winter, you can buzz by on the way home. Not a problem.

  6. #6
    Cyburbian Plus
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    USA Today Article: The move away from night glare

    HIGHLIGHTS:
    Dark-sky legislation — laws requiring such measures as shielding outdoor lighting to reduce light pollution — has been embraced by about 300 counties, cities and towns.
    Oddball
    Why don't you knock it off with them negative waves?
    Why don't you dig how beautiful it is out here?
    Why don't you say something righteous and hopeful for a change?
    From Kelly's Heroes (1970)


    Are you sure you're not hurt ?
    No. Just some parts wake up faster than others.
    Broke parts take a little longer, though.
    From Electric Horseman (1979)

  7. #7
    OH....IO Hink's avatar
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    You really don't need more than 6.0 lumens. Anything over that is overkill. Unless you are in a safety area (by a backdoor, etc.) there is really nothing that should be over that number. I wouldn't imagine any place on earth would need to be higher than 10.0.

    We have regulation based on these numbers.
    A common mistake people make when trying to design something completely foolproof is to underestimate the ingenuity of complete fools. -Douglas Adams

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