(A)   Intent and purpose.
      (1)   The intent of this section is to set standards for outdoor lighting at proper intensities so as to adequately serve the intended use and not unreasonably interfere with the use and enjoyment of neighboring properties. It is further intended that the standards shall preserve the visual integrity of the nighttime environment by reducing glare and maintaining the character and integrity of the coastal village.
      (2)   The purpose is to regulate artificial lighting devices and encourage lighting that enhances visual performance and safety, particularly the illumination of buildings and landscaping, lighting of parking areas, loading zones, open canopies and signs.
   (B)   Definitions. For the purpose of this section, the following definitions shall apply unless the context clearly indicates or requires a different meaning.
      FOOT-CANDLE.  The measurement unit indicating quantity of light on a surface area, particularly intensity of light (see lumen) per square foot area. The term “maintained foot-candle” is used to denote adjustment for dirt build up or fixture aging (a depreciation factor).
      FULLY SHIELDED.  A light fixture whose housing is horizontal and opaque on top so that light is spread below and around but not above.
      GLARE.  The experience of luminance within a visual field significantly greater than lighting to which eyes are accustomed causing loss of visual performance and discomfort.
      LIGHT FIXTURES.  Any electrically powered illuminating device, reflective surface, lamp or any similar device used for illumination or advertisement.
      LUMEN.  The unit measuring the quantity and intensity of light emitted by a light source, especially as it falls on a surface area. The lowest quantity of light on 1 square foot area is termed 1 foot-candle.
      RECESSED or FLUSH MOUNTED.  A fixture mounted above the ceiling with the opening, lens or cover of the fixture recessed or level with the ceiling surface whereby all light is emitted below the horizontal plane.
         (a)   Exposed or channel neon, argon, krypton or similar gas tube lighting attached to and outlining a structure or building so as to direct attention to the same.
         (b)   Any light source that illuminates a translucent 2 or 3 dimensional surface, or object, that is not part of a permitted sign and directs attention to a building or structure.
   (C)   Lighting prohibited:
      (1)   Light fixtures which imitate official highway or traffic control lights or signs;
      (2)   Light fixtures in the direct line of vision with any traffic control lights or signs or that interfere with drivers’ vision, subject to the Zoning Administrator’s determination;
      (3)   Light fixtures with blinking, flashing or intermittent illumination;
      (4)   Light fixtures that violate any law of the State of North Carolina;
      (5)   Illumination of public beach or estuarine waters from uses which are not water dependent shall be prohibited;
      (6)   Light fixtures which are a source of glare by their design, orientation or intensity; and
      (7)   Structure outlining is prohibited. However, temporary holiday lighting is permitted to outline buildings for a total of no more than 60 days between November 15 and January 15, provided that individual lamps are 10 watts or less.
   (D)   General provisions.
      (1)   Lighting fixtures shall be located on the site and designed, shielded or oriented in a manner so as to minimize light spill across property lines and prevent glare at any location on or off the property.
      (2)   All wiring to light fixtures not located on a building shall be placed underground.
      (3)   Principal buildings shall provide security lighting.
      (4)   No light fixtures shall exceed 18 feet in height.
      (5)   Commercial buildings with more than 50% glass on any exterior wall must have a shield or be oriented in a manner so as to minimize light spill across property lines and prevent glare at any location on or off the property.
      (6)   Light fixtures and supporting structures shall be designed and constructed to comply with North Carolina State Building Code requirements.
      (7)    For any special use, an outdoor lighting plan shall be submitted in conjunction with the submission of a site plan for Town Council review. For those projects not subject to special use permit review, an outdoor lighting plan may be required for those projects that feature a total of 10 or more exterior light fixtures as depicted on the site plans and/or building plans.
   (E)   Application standards. These are based on use and anticipated activity as follows:
      (1)   High levels of activity including gas stations, convenience stores, restaurants, drive-through eating places and banks;
      (2)   Medium level after-dark activity includes retail and shopping centers, hospitality establishments, health clinics and indoor recreational uses; and
      (3)   Low-level activity includes professional offices, churches and private clubs.
   (F)   Specific lighting standards.
      (1)   Canopy lighting. Open canopies located over automobile service stations, gas pumps and drive through banking facilities. Only the area directly below a canopy may be illuminated and shall have maximum foot-candles of 10. Parking spaces not located directly beneath the canopy shall be lighted in accordance with standard parking areas.
      (2)   Security lighting. To be used for protection of people and property including illumination above doorways and entries. Security lighting shall not exceed 8 maintained foot-candles. Areas solely for pedestrian circulation, walkways, shall be provided with security level illumination.
      (3)   Architectural and interior lighting. Light fixtures mounted on a building shall be recessed, fully shielded or directed to the wall surface. Floodlights may be utilized to up light opaque wall surfaces from the ground. The maximum vertical illumination, of an entrance facade shall not exceed 5 average maintained foot-candles. When a single wall surface area of a building is 50% glass or greater, or when interior light fixtures are visible from the property line or off-site location, the interior light fixtures shall be fully shielded to prevent line of sight contact with light source lens or opening. Further, a canopy or overhang of not less than 4 feet shall deflect any glare.
      (4)   Outdoor recreational uses. Sports floodlight fixtures may be utilized provided they shall be hooded and directed or shielded that the light source cannot be viewed directly from adjacent properties and streets.
   (G)   Lighting allowances by foot-candle.
Service station (canopy)
Parking lots
Architectural surface area
   (H)   Measurements. Measurements are to be made in foot-candles with a direct reading, portable light meter. Unless otherwise specified, the meter sensor shall be mounted not more than 6 inches above ground level in a horizontal position to measure horizontal illumination. Vertical illumination shall be measured at a height of 5 feet with the sensor mounted not more than 6 inches from the wall surface and the meter sensor in the vertical position.
   (I)   Nonconforming fixtures. Any existing light fixtures that do not conform with the standards of these lighting regulations shall be non-conforming fixtures and may continue in operation until May 7, 2006. Any non-conforming fixtures that are destroyed or removed must be replaced in conformance with these standards. Outdoor lighting for yards, signs, advertising structures, parking lots and other areas must be oriented or shielded so that the light and glare reflects away from streets and adjacent property.
(Ord. 04-21, passed 10-6-2004, § 46; Am. Ord. 17-04, passed 6-7-2017; Am. Ord. 21-01, passed 6-2-2021)