Municipal

   Contents

Introduction

Pennsylvania municipalities play an important role in fostering responsible outdoor lighting practices through ordinances, planning, code enforcement and Environmental Advisory Councils (EACs).

There are two primary ways of controlling lighting quality within a municipality, 1) Educating citizens and businesses, 2) Having and enforcing an effective lighting ordinance. The municipality’s role in education is elective and typically passive but their role in having and enforcing an effective lighting ordinance should be active. In this section you will find useful information on how to get a lighting ordinance started and passed, what the ordinance should contain, sample ordinances in place and working, the role of the planning commission, municipal engineer and code enforcement officer in ordinance enforcement and the role of other agencies such as EACs, historical commissions and parks and recreation boards in guarding against bad lighting.

Ordinances

  1. Why an Ordinance?

    A municipality with a weak lighting ordinance will sooner or later wish they had a more effective one and when that happens it will be too late to protect against a developer whose exterior lighting could destroy a community’s rural character, destroy the sanctity of a residential neighborhood with glare, or pump light into the night sky. Without an effective lighting ordinance the municipality will be playing by the developer’s rules, not the community’s and the likelihood of the developer honoring a municipality’s non-ordinance backed wish list can be a delusion. Further, unless the ordinance contains language for corrective action, a bad lighting installation may be in place for 20 years or more before it will need to be replaced and therefore brought into compliance.

    All too many municipalities claim to have an effective ordinance based on requirements such as: "Lighting shall be controlled in a manner that it does not shine onto roadways or onto residential properties," or "Commercial parking lots shall be adequately lighted." Such language is way too general and subjective and therefore wholly inadequate to protect against abusive lighting.

    If the ordinance does not contain such elements as minimum, average and maximum lighting levels for typical uses, requirements for controlling lighting and for: curfews, limits on light trespass onto residential uses, maximum mounting heights, aiming and shielding, residential development lighting, protection of lighting poles, lighting-plan submission requirements and code-enforcement powers, it is inadequate and in need of upgrading.

    Except under very unusual circumstances, the ordinance upgrade process can take 6 months to a year or longer from start to finish. An election and change of elected officials can cause the process to start all over again or come completely to a halt. If the municipality waits until a developer’s application is received, it will be too late and the ordinance language in place at the time of application receipt will prevail. Clearly, there is no time like the present to examine existing ordinance language to judge its effectiveness and to take appropriate action.

  2. How to Get Started

    There are two typical approaches to getting an ordinance started: 1) Action from within the municipality government, e.g., municipal manager, solicitor, elected official, planning commissioner, EAC member, code enforcement officer or municipal engineer; 2) Outside urging by a citizen or organization. Both avenues work but by far the most successful one is when the impetus is from within. When in "insider" initiates the ordinance upgrade process, that person can keep an eye on it, keep it on track, provide needed information, work around stumbling blocks and keep the effort focused. Outsiders can seldom do that simply because they don’t have ready access to "inside" information and/or don’t have the authority to take such actions. So, the preferred approach is initiation of the task by an "insider," someone who wants to see the task through to a successful conclusion.

    If a citizen wishes to initiate the ordinance upgrade process and can collaborate with or interest an “insider” in picking up the ball, that is a good start. Short of that, be prepared to ride herd to the extent possible. Start by going to a public meeting and expressing your concerns to the elected officials, offer to help with the ordinance revision process, present them with an existing ordinance such as the POLC model ordinance which with minimal effort, could be tailored to meet the municipality’s local needs. When the process has started, ask at public meetings for a progress report.

  3. Where to Place the Ordinance

    There are no hard and fast rules for deciding where to place the lighting ordinance in the municipality’s array of codes, but there are issues to consider when making the decision. The typical choices are in the Subdivision and Land Development Ordinance, in the Zoning Ordinance or in a stand-alone ordinance. Obviously, if the municipality only has one ordinance, whatever it might be, that’s where the lighting needs to go. If a municipality has no ordinances and doesn’t intend to have any, then urging the county to have lighting requirements should be considered.

    Stand-Alone Ordinance – Although going the stand-alone route has a few advantages, it also has many disadvantages. If the municipality is in a rush to get the ordinance passed with minimum delay, for whatever reason, stand-alone ordinance passage involves fewer regulatory hoops. That advantage aside, after the ordinance is passed and fulfills its designated purpose, unless the ordinance is made part of the SALDO or ZO by reference or by notes placed on the Final Plan, stand-alone ordinances often get put on a shelf and forgotten. They therefore typically don’t have any lasting value. Further, by a simple vote by elected officials bowing to internal or external pressures, can radically revise the ordinance or nullify it without further ado.

    SALDO – Placing the lighting requirements in the Subdivision and Land Development Ordinance (SALDO) makes more sense. First, the SALDO is required to be updated periodically. Second, it is an active document that the planning commission and municipal engineer use on a regular basis. It has the advantage, or in some cases disadvantage, that the elected body can waive the requirements with relative ease when pressured by developers or other influences. While it is used to control subdivision and land development applications, the SALDO does not typically apply to smaller applications and permits such as building permits, signs, gas stations, etc., unless they are specifically regulated by inclusion within the ordinance. Although these smaller projects may not require planning commission and elected official review, their potential to have bad lighting is not diminished. The code enforcement officer or inspector frequently has little experience with SALDO content so its dictates can therefore go unenforced for small projects.

    Zoning Ordinance – Of the available choices, placing the lighting requirements in the zoning ordinance, under most circumstances seems to be the most practical. It is the document that is used by largest number of players, e.g., elected officials, planning commission, zoning hearing board, solicitor, municipality engineer, building inspector and code enforcement officer. It is typically the most dynamic code, amended as needed to meet changing conditions and requirements in the municipality. The various users are usually much more familiar with its contents than they are with other codes. Another potential advantage arises from the fact that the process of varying from ordinance requirements is considerably more cumbersome because it involves a ruling by the zoning hearing board, which may serve to uphold ordinance requirements more effectively than a mere wave of the hand by the elected body. Applicant has to show cause that a requested variance will achieve the same or better results by another means and may elect not to bother in the face of the fees involved in convening of the zoning hearing board.

    Zoning Ordinance and SALDO – Getting two ordinances amended at the same time is not always possible, but if achievable, placing lighting requirements that pertain chiefly to subdivision and land development issues, e.g., subdivision roadway lighting, and those which apply almost exclusively to zoning issues, e.g., on-lot residential lighting, billboards, gas stations and sports lighting. There will, of necessity be duplication between the two ordinances but irrelevancies are reduced or eliminated.

    Cross Referencing Between Ordinances – Another approach used by some municipalities is to place the lighting requirements in one ordinance, typically the zoning ordinance, and a requirement placed in the SALDO or Stand-Alone ordinance that lighting shall be per the zoning ordinance section.

  4. Where to Place the Lighting Requirements in the Ordinance

    Traditionally, when in the zoning ordinance, lighting requirements have been sprinkled throughout the document, with a sentence or two repeated in each zoning district section. However, the reality is that by and large, good lighting is good lighting and bad lighting is bad lighting regardless of the zoning district in which it is located. To state those requirements once in a dedicated outdoor-lighting section seems to be the more effective way to go.

    If there are specific conditions in a zoning district that require unique lighting requirements, such as an astronomical observatory or environmental preserve, those unique requirements might be placed in that district’s section or in an applicable overlay district.

  5. Ordinance Content

    There are certain basic requirements that an effective lighting ordinance must embrace. They include:
    Applicability
    Exceptions
    Illuminance levels and uniformities
    Acceptable luminaire types and aptness of purpose
    Aiming and shielding requirements
    Acceptable means of controlling lighting
    Curfew requirements
    Pole protection
    Maximum mounting heights
    Grandfathering
    Fines and penalties

    Sports lighting, billboard and sign lighting and residential street lighting are frequently added. For a complete view of suggested lighting ordinance content, please visit the Model Ordinance Section of this website.

  6. The Ordinance Creation and Amendment Process

    Typically, ordinance creation or amendment is handled by the municipality’s planning commission. Whether that process is done in a workshop or during regularly scheduled planning commission business meeting or both, state law requires that such meetings be advertised and open to the public. With that in mind, if you are an "outsider" and wish to merely track progress or assist in the process, you have the right to attend meetings and either passively watch the process or actively contribute, to the extent that you don’t wear out our welcome.

    If you are the organizer of an effort to initiate the creation or upgrade of a lighting ordinance, there are several up-front questions to be addressed. They might include: What entities or persons should be involved in the process? What additional information will be needed? Should we seek outside help?

    Who Should be Involved in the Process – Although not always necessary, at times it can be helpful to gather input and commitment from various sources such as representation from law enforcement, the EAC, the historical commission, parks and recreation, code enforcement, elected officials, the municipal engineer and citizens at large.

    What Additional Information is Needed – At a gathering of some or all of the stakeholders, after explaining the mission, a questionnaire might be helpful to better understand where each person stands on the issues, to spark a deeper level of thinking and to consider what additional background information might be needed. Here’s a link to such a questionnaire.

    To gain a better understanding of the municipality’s lighting issues, consider taking a group tour of the municipality, pointing out examples of good lighting and examples of lighting that the ordinance should seek to avoid in the future or correct at some point in time.

    When it has been decided where the lighting section is to be located, it is strongly suggested that one of the POLC model ordinances be used as a starting point for tailoring the language to the municipality’s specific needs. The model ordinances have been tested and enhanced over time and found to be very reliable in effectively controlling outdoor lighting. Choosing to use a neighboring community’s existing ordinance because it is short or claimed to be effective should be done with extreme caution. There is no "one-size-fits-all" ordinance and all should be custom-fitted to the community’s specific needs and conditions.

  7. Getting the Ordinance Approved

    The approval process for amendments to the SALDO and zoning ordinance have strict requirements imposed by the Municipalities Planning Code with respect to public notification, public hearings, county review, etc. The municipal manager and solicitor are two sources of such information.

    Coupling the lighting ordinance revision public hearing process with other ordinance revisions can be helpful in reducing the spotlight on the lighting portion. If lighting is the only issue at the public hearing, sometimes the public turns out in great numbers to defend their right to have 150-watt post lights, thereby jeopardizing passage of the ordinance.

    At such a hearing, having the initiator or leader of the ordinance process present can be helpful to answer questions, clarify issues, understand and document concerns and speak positively on the ordinance’s behalf. If residents express concerns about lighting’s role in safety and security, assure them that the municipality has no desire or intention to reduce anyone’s safety or security but merely to control excesses that jeopardize the health of the natural and visual environment, adversely impact neighbors and maintain the character of the area, district or municipality.

    If there is considerable public opposition to the proposed ordinance language at the hearing that might prompt the governing body to vote against the ordinance on the spot, at all cost avoid having a vote taken at that time. Instead, thank the attendees for their input and state that another hearing will be held after their concerns have been considered and a revised draft has been prepared. If you personally do not have the authority to make that decision, you should suggest to the governing body that the vote be postponed to allow time for consider of public comments and suggestions in order to research and prepare a more comprehensive and definitive proposal and summary that may enable them to make a more informed and knowledgeable decision. If this delay is granted, be certain to prepare an extremely complete, forcefully positive presentation to be sure that the governing body has the best and most convincing evidence with which they may be persuaded to make a favorable decision .

    Back in committee, discuss and attempt to reconcile the various issues and to the extent practical, revise the draft language as deemed necessary, while attempting to retain the intent. Typically at a second hearing, many who spoke in opposition and had their concerns addressed will either not show up or will remain silent. If citizen concerns have been addressed and opposition has subsided, it’s time for a vote. If there is still strong opposition, remember that further compromise may be necessary to prevent defeat. A suitably modified ordinance is better than no ordinance at all. Keep in mind that the main thrust of most ordinances will be to control commercial lighting. If retaining some or all restrictions on residential lighting would assure defeat, such restrictions may have to be curtailed or dropped.

  8. POLC MODEL ORDINANCES:

    Since 2004, the Pennsylvania Outdoor Lighting Council has published models for both a Zoning Ordinance and a Subdivision & Land Development Ordinance.  Municipalities are encouraged to adopt both the Zoning and the Subdivision & Land Development ordinances, to best address outdoor lighting issues.  Adoption of a stand-alone lighting ordinance is another option.

    A discussion of where to place the lighting ordinance can be found HERE.

    A questionnaire for use when initiating a lighting ordinance can be found HERE.

    POLC MODEL LIGHTING SECTION FOR ZONING ORDINANCES (April, 2017) .....PDF File

    POLC MODEL LIGHTING SECTION FOR SUBDIVISION & LAND DEVELOPMENT ORDINANCES (June, 2016) .....PDF File

    POLC STAND-ALONE MODEL LIGHTING ORDINANCE (June, 2016) .....PDF File

  9. Ordinances endorsed by POLC

    I.  Pennsylvania communities with Zoning and/or Subdivision & Land Development lighting requirements:

      Click on Municipality Name for full text of the ordinance

    Birmingham Township Chester County .....PDF File

    East Bradford Township Chester County

    London Grove Township Chester County .....PDF File

    North Coventry Township Chester County .....PDF File

    West Whiteland Township Chester County .....PDF File

    West Brandywine Township Chester County

    West Pikeland Township Chester County

    Uwchlan Township Chester County

    South Coventry Township Chester County

    Schuylkill Township Chester County .....PDF File

    Wallace Township Chester County .....PDF File

    Warwick Township Chester County .....PDF File

    Westtown Township Chester County .....PDF File

    Valley Township Chester County .....PDF File

    The ordinances contained herein shall not be construed as official copies of enacted ordinances nor do they necessarily represent the version currently in effect.

    (This is a partial listing. Please send email to polcouncil@polcouncil.org if you are aware of an ordinance that should be added to this list, or if a more recent version exists.)



    II.  Pennsylvania communities with Stand Alone Lighting Ordinances:

    Exeter Township Berks County .....PDF File

    Union Township Berks County .....PDF File

    Upper Dublin Township Montgomery County .....PDF File

  10. Pennsylvania Outdoor Lighting Council Ordinance-related PowerPoint presentations:

    ADVICE FOR MUNICIPALITIES ON HOW TO DEAL WITH ELECTRONIC BILLBOARD LIGHTING ISSUES .....PPTX File

    Good Lighting - An Orientation by Stan Stubbe (20.7 MB PowerPoint 2003)

    Lighting Issues for Municipalities by Barry Johnson (5.9 MB PowerPoint 2003)

    Preventing Bad Lighting With a Good Ordinance by Stan Stubbe (7.3 MB PowerPoint 2003)

    If you have trouble reading these PowerPoint 2003 files, try downloading the free Powerpoint viewer from Microsoft here.

  11. Preventing Bad Lighting With a Good Ordinance by Stan Stubbe (7.3 MB PowerPoint 2003)

Planning Commission or Planning Department

  1. Ordinance Development - Planning commissions and planning departments are responsible under the Municipalities Planning Code for developing, revising and keeping up to date the SALDO and zoning ordinance for approval by the governing body. In this role, they can perform a significant function in being sure that the lighting requirements are up-to-date. Please see the Ordinances section for an extensive discussion of this subject.

  2. Plan Review Process - Planners are an important part of the plan review process. In conjunction with the municipal engineer, they closely examine plans for ordinance compliance. As an advisory body to the elected officials rather than a decision making group, they recommend but do not approve plan content. Typically, unless a planning commission member happens to have lighting expertise, the commission relies on the municipal engineer or other outside agencies to thoroughly review submitted lighting plans. Urban municipalities that have planners on staff are more likely to have some lighting expertise available.

    The role of the planning commission is typically limited to the subdivision and land development application review process. Once the commission’s recommendations have been made to the governing body for final plan approval, their responsibilities will have been fulfilled. It is recommended that all outdoor lighting issues be at least 90% resolved during preliminary application review, thus leaving only minor issues to be resolved during final plan application review.

  3. Waivers and Variances - When the lighting requirements are contained in the SALDO and applicant seeks approval of a waiver from the ordinance language, the planning commission can serve a valuable role by recommending to the governing body whether a variance should or should not be granted. Similarly, if an applicant wishes to have relief from zoning ordinance requirements and the planning commission does not agree with the request, they may wish to send a memo to the zoning hearing board to that effect. Suggesting the granting of a variance or waiver wherein the developer gains financially but the municipality looses lighting quality, should be viewed with considerable skepticism.

  4. Monitoring - The commission is not typically involved in construction monitoring, post installation inspection, or building permit or occupancy permit review or approval. However, individual commission members can play a valuable informal role in keeping an eye out for lighting abuses and infractions and notifying the code officer of the need to take action.

Code Enforcement

  1. Know your ordinance - Lighting requirements may be in the zoning ordinance, in the SALDO or in a stand-alone ordinance. If the requirements are in the zoning ordinance, you already may be familiar with them, especially if they have their own separate section instead of scattered in each zoning district. If the requirements are in the SALDO, you probably seldom, if ever, have occasion to refer to them so you will do well to find them and become familiar with those parts that pertain to relevant lighting issues. If the requirements are in a stand-alone document, obtain a copy and familiarize yourself with its contents.

  2. Relevant Ordinance Parts – Of primary importance will be such issues as maximum allowable illuminance at the property boundary, allowed luminaire types, aiming and shielding, maximum mounting heights, excessive glare, curfew hours and penalties for code infractions.
  3. Dealing with complaints – Issues with which you will typically have to deal are light shining onto a complainant’s property or into a complainant’s windows. Judging the former will require an illuminance (light) meter. Judging the latter will require your good judgment.

  4. 4) Selecting an illuminance meter - To obtain illuminance values at the property line or elsewhere on or off the property, an illuminance (footcandle or light) meter that works effectively during hours of darkness will be needed. The meter must be capable of displaying readings down to at least 0.1 footcandle, or better still down to 0.01 footcandle. Unless the device has an LED display, it should have a lock or hold button that permits locking the reading so the meter can be taken to a place where there is sufficient light to read the value. The device should be cosine corrected to receive light at low angles. If light readings more closely aligned with the human eye’s response under low light conditions are important, a CIE-corrected meter would be appropriate. For work where the validity of the readings could be legally questioned, e.g., court testimony, the device should be one that is accompanied by NIST calibration certification. The Cooke cal-LIGHT400F and Konica Minolta Model T-10 are examples of accurate and reliable devices. Expect to pay between $500 and $1,000 for a meter that will meet the above requirements.

  5. Using an illuminance meter - When measuring the amount of light at a location to verify ordinance compliance, there are two basic types of readings, horizontal and vertical. Most specified ordinance values are horizontal, e.g., for parking lots and roadways. Light trespass values, on the other hand, are typically vertical. To measure horizontal footcandles, the meter is held or placed on a flat horizontal surface so the meter’s light-receiving element is facing straight upward toward the sky. To measure light-trespass footcandles at the property line, the meter is typically held vertically, with the meter’s light-receiving element aimed either straight out or tilted and aimed out toward an offending source of light. Outdoor horizontal readings are conventionally taken at grade unless otherwise specified. Light trespass readings are typically taken at 5’ above grade (eye level) unless otherwise specified by the ordinance. Sports facility lighting values are typically taken at 36 inches above grade.

    When taking horizontal footcandle readings, avoid blocking light from any direction from being received by the meter. Under some circumstances this may require crouching or even going into the prone position to prevent blockage. If the need is to take readings where the lighting may be excessive, take the reading or readings at the point where maximum brightness is visible on the ground. If the aim is to find areas where lighting may be insufficient, seek readings where it is relatively dark. If the sky is not totally dark when the readings are being taken, e.g., full moon or at dusk, it will be necessary to take a reading at a place where no artificial lighting is present and subtract that ambient value from the subsequent readings taken.

    When surveying the light levels on an entire site or site area, such as a parking lot, horizontal readings are taken and recorded at fixed intervals, typically 10’ x 10’ grid pattern.

  6. Normal vs. hyper-sensitivity to glare - Some individuals are hypersensitive to glare. As people age, such sensitivity typically increases but such sensitivity is not the exclusive domain of the aged. If you complain of glare when those around you do not, that may be a sign that you may be overly sensitive and if so, you are probably not the most appropriate person to judge on behalf of the municipality whether a lighting installation is excessive to the degree where it creates a hazard, a nuisance or an annoyance.

  7. Simple Solutions to Lighting Problems - Before using the specter of a fine, there may be an opportunity for a so-called "win-win solution" where the municipality, the aggrieved and the person with the source of the bad lighting all walk away happy. Among such solutions available, depending upon the situation, are suggesting that the offending light be aimed down instead of out, that a shield be added to the luminaire(s) to block light from being emitted onto the neighbor’s property, that the light be motion-sensor activated, that a lower wattage lamp be used to reduce the glare to a comfortable level, or to reach an agreement that the lights will only be on when needed or extinguished at a reasonable hour, e.g., 10:30 p.m.

  8. Conducting a Post-Installation Lighting Inspection

    Strange things sometimes happen between when the lighting is approved by the municipality and when it has been installed. The drawing may have been misinterpreted, the installer may have substituted a different luminaire for the one specified, the poles may be too short or long and may not have been installed plumb, poles may have been relocated to avoid obstruction etc. At any rate, one or more of such variations could cause the illuminance levels to vary from those on the approved plan. Seek what appear to be excessively dark and light spots and take readings. When doing so, be aware that the plotted readings were most likely based on worst-case, that is at the point when the lamps were supposed to be replaced and the luminaire internals cleaned. When done at a recently completed installation, readings can be expected to be between 20% and 30% higher than when the lamps have been operating for a longer period, e.g., several years.

    No matter when in the life cycle of the lamps the readings are taken, the likelihood of the values being the same as plotted on the approved plan are slim. The plot was created using light output values based on assumptions that may or may not hold true in a real-world situation. For that reason, start by taking a reading at the brightest spot directly under a luminaire and compare it with a similar spot on the approved lighting plan. On the plan, if the installation is new, add the 20%, 25% or 30% light loss factor upon which the plotted values were based back onto the peak value plotted under the luminaire. Then, if the reading is off by as much as 20%, there should be no cause for alarm. However, if the value is off by 30% or greater, in all probability something is wrong and will justify further attention. It could be a substitute luminaire that has a different light distribution, lamp wattage or lumen output. It could also be a pole height other than that specified on the approved plan or a pole or luminaire that has not been installed plumb.

    Next, go to the darkest spot on the pavement being lighted and take another reading. Again, factor in when in the life cycle the reading is being taken. If the obtained reading is less than 0.2 footcandles, no matter when in the lamp’s life cycle, corrective action is required. If, when the light-loss factor is applied, the resultant value is below 0.2 footcandles, corrective action will be justified.

    If the plan requires that all outdoor lighting is to be automatically extinguished by a specified hour, e.g., 11:00 p.m., check to see if a timeclock or programmable controller has been installed and that it is set for the prescribed hour. If the owner has been granted permission to allow specific luminaires to remain on from dusk until dawn, short of visiting the site after hours, it will be necessary to override the timeclock or controller to see which luminaires come on during the day. The ones that do not come on should be the ones to remain on from dusk until dawn.

    If a photocell is involved in the control process, assure that it does not have light shining on from one of the luminaires it is controlling and that it is located where it gets a clear view of the sky and is facing northward .

  9. Code Enforcement Officer Workshop by Stan Stubbe (15.3 MB PowerPoint 2003)

Municipal Engineers and Other Lighting Plan Reviewers

  1. Qualifications - Planning commissioners, elected officials, code enforcement officials and zoning hearing board members traditionally know very little about outdoor lighting details and how to ensure that what has been proposed on the lighting plan meets ordinance requirements and will result in an acceptable lighting product. They may know what good or bad lighting looks like when they see it but not necessarily whether what is on the lighting plan will result in a good lighting installation and will meet ordinance requirements. Without sufficient knowledge, all too often a bad lighting installation is the result. Reviewing a point-by-point illuminance plot, a luminaire schedule, a statistical area summary or a manufacturer’s catalog cut for ordinance compliance is not a job to be left to someone without adequate experience in that field. Municipal engineers, who traditionally have a civil engineering background, may be equally ill-equipped. Occasionally, firms have a lighting specialist on staff. To get around that inadequacy and risk of being stuck with a poor lighting installation for the next 20 years, the municipal engineer will have to hire a lighting specialist, look to a consultant who has lighting expertise or learn enough about outdoor lighting to properly serve the municipality’s needs. Below are several basic submission review procedures.

  2. Basic Plan Review Concepts - While the following information will not likely make the user an expert on the subject, it should go a long way toward ensuring that many, if not all, ordinance requirements will be met.

    Lighting Plan Minimum Content - For a lighting submission to be adequately reviewed for ordinance compliance, the following basic information must be included in the owner’s or developer’s submission, building permit, etc. If the information isn’t complete, get the answers before completing the review.

    • Luminaire schedule containing specified manufacturers’ names, complete luminaire catalog numbers, ies file names used to perform the illuminance calculations, lamp lumens, lamp ordering nomenclature and lamp lumen ratings
    • Point-by-point plot of maintained footcandles plotted out to the property boundary, measured to a minimum of 0.1 footcandles and typically displayed on a 10’ x 10’ grid or as appropriate to the scale of the plan
    • Statistical area summary of minimum, average and maximum footcandles and average to minimum and maximum to minimum uniformity ratios
    • Luminaire distribution type(s), i.e., full cutoff, fully shielded, cutoff, semi-cutoff, non-cutoff or the NEMA classification when floodlights are involved
    • Manufacturer’s catalog cuts of specified luminaire types
    • Aiming and shielding of flood and spot lights
    • Luminaire mounting heights above finished grade of the surface to be illuminated
    • If poles supporting luminaires are in the middle of a parking area or directly behind parking spaces, the method of protecting the poles from being struck by backing vehicles
    • Detail of pole foundation
    • Method of control of the lighting, e.g., photocell, timeclock, programmable controller, motion sensor
    • Proposed hours of operation of the lighting
    • Specific luminaires that are proposed to remain on for site safety/security after the facility is closed

    Lighting plans sometimes contain a lengthy tabulation that may be entitled, "Luminaire Locations." In it each luminaire is listed along with its x, y and z locations on the plan, as well as the mounting heights, orientation, tilt and x, y, and z aiming. This data is reflective of the parameters used to generate the illuminance plot. Of the data contained in the tabulation, of particular value to the reviewer will be the mounting height and/or z location (which should be the same) and should match the respective mounting height specified in the Luminaire Schedule. If full cutoff/fully shielded luminaires are required or specified, the z value under "aim" should be zero. If it is any other value, it is not oriented straight down and cannot be full cutoff/fully shielded

    Illuminance Levels - If the municipality’s ordinance lists illuminance values for various use types in a municipality, they are to be used as the basis for the review. If the ordinance invokes the recommended practices of the Illuminating Engineering Society (IES) but does not provide specific values, for parking areas consider the following values:

    • Low-activity lots such as schools, churches, neighborhood shopping, industrial employee parking, 0.2 maintained footcandles minimum on the pavement
    • Medium-activity lots such as community shopping centers, office parks, transportation parking lots, recreational event parking, 0.6 maintained footcandles minimum on the pavement
    • High-activity lots such as regional shopping centers, fast-food facilities, food/fuel dispensing facilities, where there is frequent interaction between vehicles and pedestrians, 0.9 maintained footcandles minimum on the pavement.

    A lighting design wherein the maintained illuminance values in vehicular or pedestrian passage and parking areas are below 0.2 footcandles should be rejected as non-conforming. Similarly, a lighting design wherein the maximum illuminance for vehicular or pedestrian passage and parking areas exceeds 20 times the plotted minimum should also be rejected and required to be redesigned.

    Plotted Illuminances - The point-by-point illuminance plot and statistical area summary form the basis for judging ordinance illuminance-value compliance. A point-by-point plot displays illuminance values in a grid pattern, typically 10’ x 10’ depending upon the scale of the plan, across the entire area being illuminated and out to the property boundary. If the lighting plan does not provide a point-by point plot of illuminance values, one must be obtained for proper plan review. An iso-footcandle plot (the concentric rings emanating out from the light source in plan view) is sometimes provided instead of a point-by-point plot. This could be considered as adequate for judging compliance if the footcandle values of each ring are documented on the plan and is only used when there is a single or two luminaire installation, such as a roadway intersection or isolated area. But when 3 or more luminaires are contributing to the lighting of an area, request a point-by-point plot of maintained illuminance values. Unless otherwise specified on the plan, illuminance values are assumed to be at finished grade and maintained.

    Luminaire output depreciates over time both from dirt accumulation on the interior and exterior of the luminaire as well as from the lamp’s reduction in light output over its life. This depreciation is expressed as a "light-loss factor" (LLF). "Maintained" illuminance levels are lamp specific and based on several assumptions: that the luminaire is relatively well sealed and that the lamp will be replaced and the luminaire cleaned at an appropriate interval. Of the typical sources used in the lighting of commercial/institutional/ municipal/industrial facilities, a LLF of 0.75 - 0.80 for high pressure sodium (HPS) or 0.68 - 0.72 for metal halide (MH) should be considered as appropriate. Values above or below those respective ranges should be viewed with skepticism and clarification or correction sought.

    Uniformity - Evenness of illumination across the lighted area is an important factor for a successful lighting installation. Wide swings in value from minimum to maximum footcandles across a site, because of increased contrast, make the areas with the lower illuminance values appear to be darker than they actually are and can create safety and security issues. All of the prescribed illuminance values are assumed to have an average to minimum uniformity ratio of 4:1 and a maximum to minimum uniformity ratio not to exceed 20:1. These values will typically be found on the lighting plan in the statistical area summary. If they are not present, they should be requested.

    Luminaire Distribution Type - There are several types of luminaire distributions, which describe the shape of the light pattern projected onto the pavement or target by the luminaire. For the lighting of horizontal surfaces such as parking areas, roadways and sidewalks, luminaires are classified by the amount of light being emitted by the luminaire in various directions. A luminaire that emits no upward light is classified as "full cutoff" or sometimes referred to as "fully shielded." One that allows no more than 2.5% of the light upward is classified as "cutoff." A luminaire that allows no more than 5% of the light emitted upward is classified as "semi-cutoff." A luminaire with a greater component of uplight than 5% carries no such cutoff designation. For a luminaire to carry one of the cutoff classifications, it must be subjected to a photometric test that is traced to an "ies test file."

    Cutoff Classification Percent Uplight Allowed
    Full Cutoff/Fully Shielded 0%
    Cutoff 2.5%
    Semi-cutoff 5%

    As a general rule, although not ironclad, if a luminaire has solid (opaque) side panels on all sides, a solid top and a flat lens and is to be installed so that it will be aimed straight down, it can be assumed to be full cutoff or fully shielded. If the luminaire has a sag (dished) or convex lens, it might be cutoff or semi-cutoff but cannot be full cutoff or fully shielded. Ornamental or period post-top luminaires, even if the lamp is in the hood at the top of the luminaire, might be cutoff or semi-cutoff but is unlikely to be full cutoff or fully shielded.

    Wall-mounted luminaires or "wallpacks," are also classified using the cutoff classification. Some manufacturers render their wallpacks full cutoff or fully shielded by attaching an auxiliary hood onto the front of the luminaire. If that hood accessory is not included in the specified catalog number or if the luminaire is not described as full cutoff or fully shielded, rest assured it isn’t.

    If the ordinance is silent on luminaire types, it is recommended that luminaires be required to be classified as full cutoff or fully shielded in order to keep the light down on the pavement where it belongs and not up into the sky and into peoples’ eyes.

    To be absolutely sure of the specified luminaire’s distribution classification if the catalog cut is silent or confusing on the subject, you would have to examine the ies test file. Doing so is judged to be outside the scope of this discussion. Alternatively, if you have doubts with respect to the distribution classification, request that the developer/owner provide a letter certifying as to the classification.

    Floodlights, because they are aimable, do not carry a cutoff classification. Instead they carry a NEMA classification based on the geometry of their beam pattern. It is typically expressed in the following manner: 6 x 7, which designates a horizontal beam spread of somewhere between 100º and 130º and a vertical beam spread of 130º or greater.

    NEMA Beam Type Beam Spread Range (degrees)
    1 10 - 18
    2 18 - 29
    3 29 - 46
    4 46 - 70
    5 70 - 100
    6 100 - 130
    7 130+

  3. Street lighting luminaires carry their own IES classification depending upon their light distribution. The designations range from Type I for a long and narrow beam pattern typically used for narrow roads where the luminaire is at the edge of or over the roadway, up to Type IV as the roadway gets wider and or the poles are moved back further from the roadway. A Type V beam pattern is circular, emitting light equally in all directions.

    Catalog Cuts - Pages from luminaire manufacturers’ catalogs are sometimes referred to as "catalog cuts" or "spec. sheets". They describe the specified luminaire’s electrical, structural, lamp and optical characteristics along with accessories and special notes. There should be one cut on the plan of each luminaire type specified. However, one catalog cut can serve to cover various wattages and light distributions and mounting heights that are specified for the same luminaire. Be aware that catalog cuts are often all inclusive, containing a broad range of variations from the base luminaire design. The cut may state that the luminaire is full cutoff/fully shielded but then have a footnote or fine print that states that above a certain wattage or with a vertical lamp position, a sag or convex lens is required, at which point the luminaire is no longer full cutoff/fully shielded despite the cut’s assertion to the contrary.

    Aiming Angles - Full cutoff/fully shielded luminaires must be aimed at 0º (straight down) to retain that classification. If luminaires have an adjustable mounting arrangement, while they may be full cutoff/fully shielded on the plan and catalog cut, they will not necessarily be so as installed. If the ordinance requires full cutoff/fully shielded luminaires, disallow any plan reference to adjustable mounting type or require that the mounting be permanently locked in the 0 degree tilt position.

    Floodlights are sometimes used for area lighting to project light into an area from a distance, thereby obviating the need for more poles and luminaires or to prevent poles obstructing vehicular traffic. While there are situations when only a floodlight can be used to do the job, they are rare. Under most circumstances, the lighting can be accomplished with full cutoff/fully shielded forward-throw luminaires. If the design proposes the use of floodlights for area lighting, before allowing the use of floodlights require that the applicant provide full justification why full cutoff/fully shielded lighting could not be used. If the ordinance requires that the use of floodlights requires municipal approval, advise the applicant to seek a variance or waiver as appropriate.

    Floodlights are capable of being tilted and aimed at any angle and depending upon their beam spread and aiming angle can project light onto adjacent properties, onto roadways, into residents’ windows and into the night sky. Require that the vertical aiming angle and luminaire horizontal and vertical beam spreads be specified on the lighting plan so that you can judge their off-site light pollution impact. If it is clear that light pollution will be a problem, require a lower aiming angle (never more than 45 degrees), and/or require the use of a shielding accessory, such as a visor, to redirect wasted or polluting light. For sign or billboard lighting, require that the light is to be contained on the sign or billboard and not projected past it.

    Mounting Height - Luminaire mounting heights are typically specified as from finished grade of the area being illuminated to the optical light center of the luminaire (assumed to be the bottom of the housing for a shoebox luminaire or lamp center for decorative luminaires. The luminaire mounting heights must be presented on the lighting plan. They form a part of the basis for the plotted illuminance values and are to be in accordance with lighting ordinance requirements. In the absence of a specified mounting height on the plan for a building-mounted or pole-mounted luminaire, it should not be assumed to be in accordance with the ordinance and should be required to be added to the plan. If the ordinance contains a maximum mounting height limitation, assure that compliance has been achieved. In some instances, building-mounted luminaires are installed relative to the building height, often mounted as high as possible. Care must be taken to ensure that they are not mounted in excess of Ordinance requirements.

    Pole Foundations - There is no such thing as a standard pole foundation. Its configuration will depend on such factors as pole height, wind loading, luminaire weight and local soil conditions. Unless you are a structural engineer, you can check for the presence of a foundation detail or details but not whether it is properly designed with respect to such details as diameter, height, rebar, conduit and grounding. If the foundation is extended up above grade to protect against being hit by a backing vehicle, check to verify that the luminaire mounting height includes not only the pole length but also the foundation dimension.

    Pole Protection - Poles or luminaire standards in the middle of parking areas, directly behind parking spaces or otherwise located where they are vulnerable to wide-swinging trucks or snow plows or backing vehicles need to be adequately protected. If poles are so located on the lighting plan, there needs to be a detail showing how such poles are to be protected from collision. The protection might be in the form of a 30-inch high concrete pole base, placement of the poles a minimum of 5 feet behind curb line or protecting steel bollards. Such means should be required to be detailed on the lighting plan.

    Ground mounted floodlights are frequently dislodged by lawn maintenance personnel. To maintain the intended aiming angles throughout the life of the installation, it would be prudent to require proper mechanical protection. This might take the form of river-stone mulching, low concrete piers or bollards that keep lawn equipment away from the luminaires. What ever the means is, it should be detailed on the plan.

    Lighting On/Off Control - Having outdoor lighting on all night when a business is closed, unless in a high-crime area, makes little sense and creates pollution, shortens lamp life, wastes energy and dollars. If the ordinance requires that all outdoor lighting is to be automatically extinguished by a specified hour, e.g., 11:00 p.m., check to see if a timeclock or programmable controller has been specified. If the applicant proposes to have specific luminaires remain on from dusk until dawn for after-hours safety/security and the ordinance requires that no more than a specified percentage of the luminaires be used for that purpose, check to verify that the limit has not been exceeded. If the site is in an elevated crime area, the elected officials or zoning hearing board should be requested to pass judgment on the request for additional security lighting. If the ordinance requires a programmable controller and a simple timeclock has been specified, require that it be revised to provide a controller.

    Applicants will sometimes balk at having to identify specific security light locations, especially when several businesses are to be located on the same site and their needs are not known. The temptation to allow this decision to be deferred until building permit application review should be rejected because it is highly unlikely that it will be addressed at that time and the lighting will be circuited as all on or all off.

Environmental Advisory Councils

  1. Becoming Aware - EACs can play a meaningful role in furthering the use of non-polluting outdoor lighting in the municipality. However, for that role to be meaningful and effective, it is first necessary for EAC members to be aware that the consequences of bad lighting can contribute to the destruction of their community’s rural character; that has a negative environmental component, not only as a hazard or annoyance or nuisance to people but also to the detriment of plants, birds, aquatic life, insects and animals and the night sky. Please refer to the Introduction Section of this website for information on those subjects and to learn how to recognize good and bad lighting.

  2. The Lighting Ordinance - The most effective means for having good outdoor lighting is having a strong lighting ordinance in place. Without such an ordinance the municipality will be playing by developers’, citizens’ and businesses’ rules, not the municipality’s. The consequences are often excessive lighting that attempts to attract attention rather than lighting the task at hand. A particularly egregious example of this is the typical gas station/convenience store canopy, wherein luminaires with dropped-glass refractors are utilized to intentionally create glare to attract motorists’ attention. Only an ordinance can prevent such visual blight.

    The EAC can play a role in getting an effective lighting ordinance passed by the municipality. Typically, getting an ordinance passed requires that someone on the "inside," a municipal official or volunteer, shepherd the process around the various pitfalls, delays, politics and inertia that frequently stand in the way of ordinance passage. EAC members have been successful in facilitating that process. To learn more about getting an effective lighting ordinance on the books in your municipality, visit the Ordinance Section of this website.

  3. Another Set of Eyes - As another set of caring eyes for the municipality, EAC members can be on the lookout for lighting infractions such as commercial establishments that are closed for the night but have all of their site lighting on past 11:00 p.m. or lighting on during the day, the latter indicating that their timeclock is set wrong. Perhaps an establishment has added a new light or lights that are not aimed straight down and not fully shielded and are putting light where it doesn’t belong or creating a nuisance or traffic hazard. Seeking remedial action by reporting the problem to code personnel can be very helpful.

    One of the critical times to catch bad lighting practices is during construction when the municipality still retains some leverage over developers’ final product. No matter how thorough the review of land development lighting plans might have been, commercial development can create glare and light trespass problems for adjacent property owners. Before escrow funds have been depleted and while the municipality still has some leverage, an alert EAC member might notify the code enforcement officer or other municipal official of the need to have the developer reaim, relocate or shield lighting equipment that is adversely impacting the visual or natural environment. Visiting construction sites to see what’s going on and reporting lighting irregularities can help the municipality ensure that the job is being done right.

  4. Recognizing Bad Lighting - If a person of ordinary sensitivities looks at an outdoor lighting installation and judges it to cause visual discomfort, an annoyance or a hazard, you can safely consider it to be bad lighting. If you can see the light source (bulb) at normal viewing angles, that is not deliberately looking straight up into the luminaire, especially in a high-wattage fixture, it’s bad lighting and needs to be reaimed or shielded. If there are areas of a commercial parking lot or of pedestrian walkways that are pitch black because of lack of sufficient lighting, it is bad lighting. If a floodlight is aimed out toward the street, toward an adjacent residence or up into the sky, it is bad lighting. If a business is closed for the night and all of the parking lot lighting is on all night, that’s bad lighting.

Historical Commissions

  1. Traditional Luminaires - Historic districts within municipalities traditionally attempt to replicate the style of lighting that was used back in a by-gone era. This might involve such period styles as victorian, colonial lanterns or acorn-shaped luminaires. During the day the reproduction-luminaires do their job authentically but at night they transform the community into a series of bright blobs of glare past which nothing else can be seen without squinting. The reason for this negative transformation is simple, back in an earlier time, those traditional luminaires were lighted by gas mantels or low-wattage incandescent lamps. But today’s high-efficiency high output light sources can be up to 40 times brighter. Gone is the gently glowing glass-paneled luminaire that can be viewed without causing visual pain and that emits a warm light that gently bathes building facades and horizontal surfaces.

  2. Solutions - Historical commission members can prevent such occurrences by reviewing proposed traditional-village designs during the approval process and providing recommendations to the planning commission.

    Although it will perhaps not be possible or practical to replicate the friendly glow of the gas mantle or low-wattage incandescent lamp, there are steps that can be taken to approach that look of yore. First, insist that the luminaires are to be fully shielded, that is that the lamp (bulb) is to be mounted up in the hood of the luminaire and therefore not visible at normal viewing angles, and not mounted below, right behind the glass or plastic lens. Second, require that the lamp be limited to a maximum of 70 watts if they are high intensity discharge, and third, that the lamp’s rated color temperature not exceed 3,000º K, in order to replicate the warm incandescent or gas-light appearance.

    An alternative involves the use of a so called layered or bi-level approach that is sometimes employed in more extensive urban settings. Conventional high pole street lighting is employed to provide the majority of the street and sidewalk illumination and low-wattage period luminaires placed along the street to provide a traditional look, especially during daylight hours

Parks and Recreation Boards

  1. To light or not to light - The first question to be considered is whether or not to light open or conserved space or passive or active recreation facilities. Lighting such spaces has its obvious advantages, i.e., the ability to engage in recreational activities after the sun goes down and do so in a safe manner. But that reason needs to be carefully weighed against the potential consequences of such a decision. Consideration needs to be given up front to the broader potential consequences. What will be the impact of the lighting on the natural environment in and around the site? Will nesting habitat be destroyed and animal foraging habits adversely impacted by bright lighting and human activity way into the night? How will the artificial lighting impact the night sky? Will the stars disappear due to sky glow? Will neighboring properties be adversely impacted by light trespass, glare and human activity? Picture cheering crowds, loud pa systems, visitors’ cars blocking driveways, litter, hooliganism and graffiti, to name a few potential consequences. Is portable generator lighting being considered with its consequences of generator noise, diesel-fume smell and near-horizontal aiming of the floodlights? Is this a sound financial decision to purchase and install the lighting equipment? Will 70-foot high lighting towers be visible during the day, giving the appearance of a penitentiary? Who is to pay for the cost of electrical power for the lighting and the cost to maintain it, the users or the tax payers?

  2. Environmental Issues - One of the roles of the Parks and Rec. board is to protect those lands under its care, whether open space or for active or passive recreation. Lighting has its costs, both tangible and abstract. The cost of the power to operate the lighting, the cost of the lighting equipment and its maintenance and the cost of the installation can be calculated readily. However, the cost from degradation of the environment, although not necessarily measured in dollars and cents, must also be considered. What will be the impacts of the lighting on owls, bats and night foraging animals? The board needs to think globally as well as locally. Light pollution and its ill effects on the environment don’t stop at municipal boundaries.

  3. Security - Security lighting may be helpful to deter vandalism on public land, by allowing law enforcement to see into otherwise dark areas and to deter the use of public land for private purposes by such uninvited guests as vagrants or adventurous young people. If a municipally-owned open space or recreational facility becomes a hangout for trouble makers or trespassers during hours of darkness, providing lighting is often though of first as a viable solution. “Let’s light it up!” That may be a good idea if: a) there’s electrical power at or near the spot where the lighting is intended; b) there will be someone around to see what’s going on in the lighted area. Intruders can make quick work of security lighting by throwing rocks at it, shooting at it, knocking it over or otherwise disabling it. Lighting intended to increase security does not always work as anticipated. Instead of deterring trespass, it may actually attract congregation. The use of motion-sensor controlled lighting may the benefit of providing a startling effect and alerting neighbors or law enforcement to the fact that there is trespass taking place. A more appropriate and less expensive solution might include posting the area or facility with signage warning that the area is under surveillance. Following up with occasional visits by municipal representatives, citizens or law enforcement would be an important part of that solution. In conclusion, using lighting to enhance security can be a viable solution but unless done properly and coupled with physical surveillance, its benefits may be problematic and a waste of funds that could be better spent elsewhere.

    Safety - If a facility is not lighted and is properly posted, one might conclude that the facility is “not open for business,” and that those who trespass are doing so at their own risk. Conversely, if the facility is lighted and therefore interpreted as open to the public, it will be prudent to be sure that the facility is lighted in such a manner that unsafe conditions like tripping hazards are well lighted and that the lighting has not created deep shadows in which a perpetrator could hide or otherwise conceal a hazard. To the extent that proper lighting can prevent accidents, it certainly should be considered as a solution. When there is to be activity during hours of darkness and uneven paths or steps are involved, assuming power is available; a few well placed low-voltage path lights could be helpful to illuminate the hazard. Solar path lights might be considered, keeping in mind that such lights could be easy targets for theft. Parking areas for large sporting events where there is likely to be the potential for considerable interaction between pedestrians and vehicles before and after the event, should be properly illuminated.

  4. Passive Recreation - Such venues may include walking and equestrian trails, visitor parking, picnic areas and pavilions. The illumination of passive recreation areas is not recommended unless perhaps the venue is in a high-crime area or throngs of people assemble during hours of darkness. Lighting passive recreation areas has as much potential for attracting undesirable elements as law-abiding citizens. People tend to congregate around lighting.

    If there is a compelling reason to light a passive recreation area or facility regardless of the potential consequences, keep the lighting quantity to a minimum and shielded so as to have a minimum impact on the surrounding environment. There should be little or no justification for all-night lighting. Lighting within a pavilion or bandstand should be full-cutoff fixtures and on only when needed. Walking paths are best lighted with solar path lights, when there is adequate sun during the day or low voltage path lighting.

  5. Active Recreation - For lighting purposes, active-recreation facilities fall into 2 categories, aerial sports, where the underside of the ball or other projectile must be illuminated so it can be viewed by spectators and players as it travels through the air; and ground-level sports. Examples of the aerial sports are baseball, football, badminton, volleyball, soccer, squash, tennis, jai alai, basketball, golf driving and skeet and trap shooting ranges and lacrosse. Examples of ground-level sports, where players and spectators do not need to look upward, are swimming (except for high-diving), horseshoes, quoits, croquet, archery and field hockey.

    Ground Level Sports - If it has been decided to install lighting for ground-level recreational activities, in the interest of protecting the environment the night sky and adjacent properties, select low-mounted (15’ – 20’) fixtures that direct all their light straight downward (full cutoff). Avoid the temptation to use floodlights, whose glare is more visible from off site and project a significant portion of their light output above the horizontal.

    Aerial Sports - The lighting of aerial sports is in a separate realm given the fact that the up-light needed to illuminate the face of the ball will be much more difficult to control. Although there have been successful installations of full-cutoff lighting for such applications, for whatever reason, they have not proven to be widely accepted. The almost universally accepted source is the floodlight. In the world of floodlights for sports there are general purpose floods and specialized floods intended for maximum light utilization and minimum glare and light trespass. General purpose floods direct some light down onto the field but also project a disproportionate amount of light off the field into spectators’ eyes and onto neighboring properties. A new generation of sports-lighting floods with computer-designed segmented reflectors and deep baffles are available that restrict the light output to just the playing field, to the greatest possible extent, and effectively shield direct viewing of the light source from offsite and spectators eyes. Such equipment is more expensive than the general purpose floods, and while initial cost will be higher, overall energy savings and maintenance costs may prove them to be more economically viable in the long run. From an environmental, sky-glow, glare control and light trespass point of view, their superiority will be unquestionable.

    Curfews - And finally, nothing improves invasive sports lighting better than shutting it off when it isn’t needed. When allowing a recreational facility to be lighted, establish ground rules up front as to when the lighting is to be extinguished. For active recreational sports, setting a 10:30 or 11:00 p.m. curfew, regardless of extra innings, playoffs or overtimes, will preclude games going on until all hours of the night. The establishment of penalties for non-compliance will also be appropriate. This needs to be negotiated during the acceptance process, not after the fact. The sports league or other agency or group will be more willing to abide by such a restriction during negotiations than after. It will of course be essential that a suitable but greatly reduced level of light be provided for safe exiting of spectators and performing maintenance function.

  6. Responibility - In some jurisdictions Parks and Rec. Boards make their own decisions with respect to exterior lighting, rather than going through the subdivision and land development review process. When that is the case, they may or may not follow the dictates of the municipality’s lighting ordinance. Further, some municipalities subscribe to the notion that their lighting ordinance is intended to dictate to developers but not apply to municipally owned and operated facilities. In reality, assuming that the ordinance requires good lighting, the principles of good lighting should be followed regardless of the ownership of the facility or potential monetary savings from providing bad lighting. Glare, excessive and poorly aimed and unshielded lighting and light trespass have no place anywhere in the municipality. The principles of good lighting and lighting-ordinance content are detailed elsewhere in this Municipal Section.

  7. Conclusion - Before deciding to provide lighting for municipal conservation and recreational facilities under your jurisdiction, consider the real need and the potential consequences. If the decision is to light, do it right, do not over light, select equipment that puts the light where it belongs and only allow it to be on when it is needed.

Outdoor Lighting Workshops for Municipal Officials

The POLC has conducted outdoor lighting workshops for municipal officials in the following Pennsylvania counties. A new series of lighting workshops for code officials has been launched. If you would like to organize one in your area, please let us know.

Code Enforcement Officers Workshop, Montgomery County, March, 2013 Pennsylvania State Association of Township Supervisors (PSATS) Conference, April, 2014
Central Chester County Code Officials Workshop, December, 2011 Code Enforcement Officers Workshop in Northern Chester County, November, 2012
Pennsylvania Association of Zoning Officials (PAAZO) Bucks County, March, 2011 Pennsylvania State Association of Township Supervisors (PSATS) Conference, April, 2011
  Dauphin County, March, 2010   Chester County, December, 2010
* Lancaster County, April, 2009 * Southern Chester County, May, 2009
* Lehigh County, May, 2008 * Potter County, June, 2008
* Chester County, October, 2007 * Berks County, April, 2008
* Montgomery County, March, 2006 * Bucks County, March, 2007
* Delaware County, August, 2001 * Berks County, March, 2002
   * In partnership with the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection