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Regulation Residential exterior lighting standards

lilschmidty

Cyburbian
Messages
44
Points
2
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.
 

JMo

Cyburbian
Messages
58
Points
4
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?
 

Suburb Repairman

moderator in moderation
Staff member
Moderator
Messages
7,441
Points
35
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.
 

ColoGI

Cyburbian
Messages
2,565
Points
18
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.
 

Hink

OH....IO
Staff member
Moderator
Messages
16,313
Points
59
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.
 

luckless pedestrian

Super Moderator
Staff member
Moderator
Messages
13,123
Points
55
What about minimum illumination levels?

This is a good question as originally, the thinking is cutoff fixtures, or better yet, turn the damn lights off at 10 PM or when the stores are closed

what happened as an unintended consequence is people use cutoff fixtures but they put in LED lights and more fixtures so you still get the reflection upward because LED is flippin bright -

I don't have an answer to your question but hopefully someone else does! (love your Cyburbian name, that's great!)
 

Suburb Repairman

moderator in moderation
Staff member
Moderator
Messages
7,441
Points
35
This is a good question as originally, the thinking is cutoff fixtures, or better yet, turn the damn lights off at 10 PM or when the stores are closed

what happened as an unintended consequence is people use cutoff fixtures but they put in LED lights and more fixtures so you still get the reflection upward because LED is flippin bright -

I don't have an answer to your question but hopefully someone else does! (love your Cyburbian name, that's great!)
Most have moved to using BUG ratings, lumens/sf or acre, light temperature, etc. rather than full cutoff. LED tech turned the whole approach to lighting regulation on its head. I generally encourage use of IDA's template and lighting zones--those are built in to a lot of lighting design software, which makes compliance easier.
 

luckless pedestrian

Super Moderator
Staff member
Moderator
Messages
13,123
Points
55
Most have moved to using BUG ratings, lumens/sf or acre, light temperature, etc. rather than full cutoff. LED tech turned the whole approach to lighting regulation on its head. I generally encourage use of IDA's template and lighting zones--those are built in to a lot of lighting design software, which makes compliance easier.

cool thanks - I need to update our lighting standards
 

Faust_Motel

Cyburbian
Messages
836
Points
33
We require full cutoff, and then have rules for timing, uniformity, light trespass, and total lumens/acre. Those limits vary by zoning district, with less allowed in residential and rural districts. I'm pretty sure it was all cribbed from Dark Sky.
 
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