Chapter 23.725


23.725.010    Purpose.

23.725.020    Applicability.

23.725.030    Permit required.

23.725.040    Exempt lighting.

23.725.050    Prohibited lighting.

23.725.060    General lighting standards.

23.725.070    Outdoor lighting plans required.

23.725.010 Purpose.

The purpose of this chapter is to regulate lighting to balance the safety and security needs for lighting with the city’s desire to preserve dark skies and to ensure that light trespass and glare have negligible impact on surrounding property (especially residential) and roadways. [Ord. 4-2017 § 3 (Exh. B); Ord. 12-2011 § 3 (Exh. A); Ord. 27-2008 § 1 (Exh. A § 4.9.010)].

23.725.020 Applicability.

The provisions of this chapter apply to all new and existing land uses, including permanent and temporary uses in all zoning districts. [Ord. 4-2017 § 3 (Exh. B); Ord. 12-2011 § 3 (Exh. A); Ord. 27-2008 § 1 (Exh. A § 4.9.020)].

23.725.030 Permit required.

Unless otherwise exempt by RCMC 23.725.040 (Exempt lighting), all outdoor lighting fixtures for new multifamily residential, commercial, industrial, mixed-use, and public/quasi-public uses require design review approval by the designated approval authority pursuant to Chapter 23.140 RCMC (Minor Design Review). Such approval shall be granted in conjunction with required land use and development permits for a project. Any retrofit or amendment to existing site and/or building lighting that would have a measurable impact on abutting property or views from street right-of-way as determined by the director shall require minor design review approval. [Ord. 4-2017 § 3 (Exh. B); Ord. 13-2013 § 4 (Exh. B); Ord. 12-2011 § 3 (Exh. A); Ord. 27-2008 § 1 (Exh. A § 4.9.040). Formerly 23.725.040].

23.725.040 Exempt lighting.

The following items shall be exempt from design review requirements:

A. Temporary lights used for holiday decorations. See Chapter 16.18 RCMC (Nuisance Code) for further restrictions.

B. Emergency lighting erected for official purposes by local, state, or federal agencies.

C. Lighting for temporary uses and special events permitted consistent with this code. [Ord. 4-2017 § 3 (Exh. B); Ord. 12-2011 § 3 (Exh. A); Ord. 27-2008 § 1 (Exh. A § 4.9.050). Formerly 23.725.050].

23.725.050 Prohibited lighting.

The following types of lighting are prohibited:

A. Neon tubing or band lighting along buildings and/or structures as articulation, except as approved through design review.

B. Search lights, laser source lights, or any similar high intensity light, except for emergency use by police or fire personnel or at their discretion, or for approved temporary lighting for a special event approved by the city.

C. Lighting fixtures operated in such a manner as to constitute a hazard or danger to persons or to safe vehicular travel.

D. Roof-mounted lighting except for security purposes.

E. Moving, flashing, or animated lighting.

F. Light poles that obstruct pedestrian traffic. [Ord. 4-2017 § 3 (Exh. B); Ord. 12-2011 § 3 (Exh. A); Ord. 27-2008 § 1 (Exh. A § 4.9.060). Formerly 23.725.060].

23.725.060 General lighting standards.

The following standards shall apply to all outdoor lighting:

A. Nuisance Prevention. All outdoor lighting shall be designed, located, installed, directed downward or toward structures, shielded, and maintained in order to prevent glare, light trespass, and light pollution.

B. Maintenance. Fixtures and lighting shall be maintained in good working order and in a manner that serves the original design intent.

C. Shielding. Except as otherwise exempt, all outdoor lighting shall be constructed with full shielding and/or recessed to reduce light trespass to adjoining properties. Each fixture shall be directed downward and away from adjoining properties and public rights-of-way, so that no light fixture directly illuminates an area outside of the site.

Figure 23.725-1: Shielding Provisions for Outdoor Lighting

D. Level of Illumination. Outdoor lighting shall be designed to illuminate at the minimum level necessary for safety and security and to avoid the harsh contrasts in lighting levels between the project site and adjacent properties. Illumination standards are as follows:

1. Public, civic and religious buildings are permitted to be fully illuminated.

2. Parking lots, driveways, trash enclosures/areas, public phones, and group mailboxes shall be illuminated with a minimum maintained one foot-candle of light and an average not to exceed four foot-candles of light. The following uses shall provide additional lighting as described below:

a. Convenience stores, card rooms, and check cashing establishments shall provide a minimum level of illumination of one and one-half foot-candles across the parking lot during business hours.

3. Pedestrian walkways shall be illuminated with a minimum maintained one-half foot-candle of light and an average not to exceed two foot-candles of light.

4. Entryways and exterior doors of nonresidential structures shall be illuminated during the hours of darkness, with a minimum maintained one foot-candle of light, measured within a five-foot radius on each side of the door at ground level.

5. In order to minimize light trespass on abutting residential property, illumination measured at the nearest residential structure or rear yard setback line shall not exceed the moon’s potential ambient illumination of one-tenth foot-candle.

E. Maximum Height of Freestanding Outdoor Light Fixtures. The maximum height of freestanding outdoor light fixtures abutting residential development shall be 18 feet. Otherwise, the maximum height for freestanding outdoor light structures shall be 24 feet. Height shall be measured from the finish grade, inclusive of the pedestal, to the top of the fixture.

F. Energy-Efficient Fixtures Required. Outdoor lighting shall utilize energy-efficient (high pressure sodium, metal halide, low pressure sodium, hard-wired compact fluorescent, or other lighting technology that is of equal or greater efficiency) fixtures and lamps. All new outdoor lighting fixtures shall be energy-efficient with a rated average bulb life of not less than 10,000 hours.

G. Accent Lighting. Architectural features may be illuminated by uplighting; provided, that the lamps are low intensity to produce a subtle lighting effect and no glare or light trespass is produced. Wherever feasible, solar powered fixtures shall be used.

H. Signs. Lighting of signs shall be in compliance with Chapter 23.743 RCMC (Signs).

I. Sports Fields/Outdoor Activity Areas. Where playing fields or other special activity areas are to be illuminated, lighting fixtures shall be mounted, aimed, and shielded so that the light falls within the primary playing area and no significant off-site light trespass is produced. Additionally, the lights shall be turned off within one hour after the end of the event.

J. Telecommunications Towers. Telecommunication towers and related equipment shall be unlit except as provided below:

1. A manually operated or motion-detector-controlled light above the equipment shed door may be provided, except that the light shall remain off except when personnel are present at night; and

2. The minimum tower lighting required under FAA regulation; and

3. Where tower lighting is required, said lighting shall be shielded or directed downward to the greatest extent possible to ensure that such light does not spill over onto abutting properties, especially residential zoning districts or uses.

K. Alternative Designs, Materials, and Installations. The designated approval authority may grant approval of alternatives to this section as part of a design review permit. [Ord. 4-2017 § 3 (Exh. B); Ord. 12-2011 § 3 (Exh. A); Ord. 27-2008 § 1 (Exh. A § 4.9.070). Formerly 23.725.070].

23.725.070 Outdoor lighting plans required.

A. When Required. A preliminary outdoor lighting plan shall be submitted as part of each planning permit application, and a final plan shall be submitted as part of an application for a building permit for a new structure or an addition of 25 percent of the gross floor area, seating capacity, or parking spaces. A final outdoor lighting plan is required for all new outdoor lighting installations on commercial, mixed-use, multi-unit residential, industrial, and institutional properties. The director may request outdoor lighting plans from applicants for other types of projects due to location, size, or proposed use, as necessary.

B. Plan Content. At a minimum, an outdoor lighting plan shall include the following:

1. Manufacturer specifications sheets, cut sheets, and other manufacturer-provided information for all proposed outdoor light fixtures to show fixture diagrams and outdoor light output levels.

2. The proposed location, mounting height, and aiming point of all outdoor lighting fixtures.

3. If building elevations are proposed for illumination, drawings of all relevant building elevations showing the fixtures, the portions of the elevations to be illuminated, the illumination level of the elevations, and the aiming point for any remote light fixture.

4. Photometric data including a computer-generated photometric grid showing foot-candle readings every 10 feet within the property or site and 10 feet beyond the property lines. [Ord. 4-2017 § 3 (Exh. B); Ord. 12-2011 § 3 (Exh. A); Ord. 27-2008 § 1 (Exh. A § 4.9.080). Formerly 23.725.080].