Skip to code content (skip section selection)
(A) Purpose. The purposes of these outdoor lighting standards are to regulate exterior lighting to ensure the safety of motorists and pedestrians and minimize adverse impacts on adjacent properties. More specifically, this section is intended to:
(1) Regulate lighting. Regulate lighting to assure that excessive light spillage and glare are not directed at adjacent properties, neighboring areas, and motorists;
(2) Adequate on-site lighting. Ensure that all site lighting is designed and installed to maintain adequate lighting levels on-site while limiting negative lighting impacts on adjacent lands; and
(3) Provide safety and security for persons, property and vehicular traffic.
(1) General. The provisions of this section shall apply to all development in the unincorporated county unless exempted in accordance with the exemptions division below (Exemptions).
(2) Time of compliance. A lighting plan shall be included with all county permit applications for new construction. Such plan shall include specifications and descriptions of the lighting fixtures to be used, a detailed site plan which shows the location of all existing and proposed improvements, the location of the lighting fixtures, a point-by-point foot-candle array, and a certification by a qualified design professional that the lighting plan complies with all the requirements contained herein. The same plan requirements shall apply when new lighting fixtures are being erected on an existing developed property.
FIXTURE. The assembly that houses the lamp(s), which may include some or all of the following components: housing, mounting bracket, pole socket, lamp holder, ballast, reflector, mirror, refractor, or lens.
FOOTCANDLE. A unit of measurement referring to the illumination from an exterior lighting device onto a surface at a single point.
FULLY-SHIELDED. A fixture where the light source is not visible off site and allows no light emission directly above a horizontal line parallel to the ground.
GLARE. Excessive brightness from insufficiently shielded light sources that cause visual discomfort, annoyance, or reduces visibility.
LUMEN. A unit of measurement for the brightness of a light source. One footcandle is one lumen per square foot.
LUMINAIRE. A complete lighting unit consisting of the lamp(s) and all necessary mechanical, electrical, and decorative parts.
(D) Exemptions. So long as the proposed fixtures are fully-shielded, new lighting used for the principal purpose of illuminating streets and sidewalks, signage (regulated by the Sign Code), seasonal lighting, single-family detached, single-family attached, and duplex homes are exempt from the exterior lighting standards of this section. As are street lights that are maintained, owned, or operated by a utility provider and located within a street right-of-way.
(E) Design standards for exterior lighting.
(a) Exterior architectural, display and decorative lighting visible off site shall be generated from a concealed (cut-off) light source with low-level fixtures.
(b) Any light fixture shall be of such design, so as to minimize the amount of ambient lighting perceptible from adjacent properties.
(c) In no case shall any lighting impair the vision of motorists.
(d) All interior lighting shall be designed to prevent the light source or high levels of light from being visible from a public right-of-way.
(e) Entrances into developments from any street may be lighted for traffic safety reasons, provided such lighting is approved by the agency maintaining the roadway and does not exceed the applicable footcandle requirements specified in the section or in conformance with the most current version of the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) Roadway Lighting Guide.
(f) All exterior lighting shall maintain maximum illumination values of not more than 0.5 footcandles at lot lines adjacent to single-family dwellings or developments and not more than 2.5 footcandles at lot lines adjacent to all other uses.
(g) All commercial light fixtures shall be located at least five feet from all property lines.
(h) Strobe, flashing, blinking, pulsing, and revolving lights are prohibited.
(F) Light fixtures. Any light fixture shall be a cutoff luminaire whose source is completely concealed with opaque housing and shall not be visible from any street. This provision includes lights mounted on poles and buildings, as well as architectural display and decorative lighting visible from streets. Examples of fully-shielded fixtures are provided below.
(1) Fixtures shall be mounted in such a manner that the cone of light is not directed at any property line of the site.
(2) Only incandescent, fluorescent, metal halide, LED, or mercury vapor light sources may be used. The same type of lighting must be utilized for all fixtures and light sources on the site.
(3) Only white or off-white may be used for any light source.
(4) Wall packs on buildings may be used at secondary entrances to a building to light unsafe areas. They are not intended to draw attention to the building or provide general building or site lighting. Wall packs on the exterior of the building shall be fully-shielded (e.g., true cutoff type bulb or light source not visible from off-site) to direct the light vertically downward and have a light output of 1,000 lumens or less. Wall pack light sources visible from any location off the site are prohibited.
Figure 1: Examples of fully-shielded fixtures
(G) Illumination levels. All site lighting shall be designed so that the level of illumination measured in footcandles (FC) at any one point meets the standards in the table below:
Table 1: Illumination Standards
Location or Type of Lighting
Minimum Level (FC)
Average Level (FC)
Maximum Level (FC)
Landscape and decorative
Commercial parking areas
Multi-family residential parking areas
Areas for display of outdoor merchandise
Walkways and streets
Notes: Minimum and maximum levels are measured at any one point. Average level is not to exceed the calculated value, and is derived using only the area of the site included to receive illumination. Points of measurement shall not include the area of the building, or areas which do not lend themselves to pedestrian traffic. If the major portion of the lighting is placed in front of the building, the average level light should not be affected by adding any additional lighting elsewhere on site.
(H) Illumination of outdoor sports fields and performance areas. Lighting of outdoor sports fields and performance areas shall comply with the following standards.
(1) Glare control package. All lighting fixtures shall be equipped with a glare control package (e.g., louvers, shields, or similar devices) and aimed so that their beams are directed and fall within the primary playing or performance area.
(2) Hours of operation. The hours of operation for the lighting system for any game or event shall not continue more than one hour after the end of the game or event.
(3) Height of fixtures. Light fixtures shall not exceed a height of 80 feet.
(4) Buffers adjacent to residential properties. A landscaped buffer yard sufficient to prevent light and glare spillover to adjacent residential properties may be required by the Director.
(I) Sign lighting. Lighting fixtures illuminating signs shall comply with standards of the Sign Code and such fixtures shall be aimed and shielded so that direct illumination is focused exclusively on the sign face and is not visible from off-site areas.
(J) Recommended fixtures. The utilization of fixtures certified as “Dark-Sky Approved” through the International Dark-Sky Association Fixture Seal of Approval (FSA) program is encouraged.
(K) Nonconforming luminaires.
(1) Luminaires in existence as of the effective date of this section shall be considered nonconforming and therefore not subject to the requirements of this section. Such fixtures may be maintained, repaired, and replaced.
(2) Luminaires in existence as of the effective date of this section that are found to direct light or glare onto rights-of-way and/or residential properties may be declared a public nuisance if the luminaire exceeds the maximum light level at the property line specified herein. Such fixtures shall be altered to reduce the light level to the maximum specified herein within 90 days of receipt of a written notice from the county.
(Ord. 2719, passed 6-17-19)