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03/01/02 Draft #1

Town of Kent, New York
Proposed Local Law Concerning Outdoor Lighting


"Lights, when possible, must be shaded or relocated in order to not shine directly on
adjoining properties or up into the sky or cause unsafe conditions on roads or highways"

Proposed Local Law:

A. Legislative intent; purpose and definitions

(1) Purpose: The Purpose of the proposed amendments is to provide more specific guidelines for site plan applications and standards in regard to lighting, in order to maximize the effectiveness of site lighting, to avoid unnecessary upward illumination and illumination of adjacent properties and to reduce glare.  This law shall apply to new construction for which a Building Permit is sought after the effective date of the law. This law shall apply to existing construction and installations and shall take effect 18 months after passage of this amendment into law.

(2) Definitions: For the purposes of this section, the following terms shall have the following meanings:

DISABILITY GLARE: The eye's line-of-sight contact with a direct light source, which causes a partial blindness.

FOOTCANDLE:  A unit of measure for illuminance.  A unit of illuminance on a surface that is everywhere one foot from a uniform point source of light of one candle and equal to one lumen per square foot.  Footcandle values can be measured directly with certain handheld incident light meters.

FULL CUT-OFF TYPE FIXTURE: A luminaire or light fixture that; by design of the housing, does not allow any light dispersion or direct glare to shine above a 90 degree, horizontal plane from the base of the fixture.  Full cut-off fixtures must be installed in a horizontal position as designed, or the purpose of the design is defeated, and disability glare will result.

HORIZONTAL ILLUMINANCE: The measure of brightness from a light source, usually measured in footcandles or lumens, which is taken through a light meter's sensor at a horizontal position.

LIGHT TRESPASS: Light from an artificial light source that is intruding into an area where it is not wanted or does not belong.

UPLIGHTING: Any light source that distributes illumination above a 90-degree horizontal plane.

U. RATIO: Uniformity ratio, describing the maximum level of illumination in relation to the lowest level of illumination for a given area.  Example: U. ratio = 4:1 for the given area, the lowest level of illumination (1) should be no less than 1/4 or "4 times less" than the maximum (4) level of illumination.

FULLY SHIELDED: Refers to providing internal and/or external shields and louvers to prevent brightness from lamps, reflectors, refractors and lenses from causing glare at normal viewing angles.

BOLLARDS: Luminaires having the appearance of a short thick post, used for walkway and grounds lighting.  The optical components are usually top mounted.

B. Proposed Standards

  1. Signs and Lighting: Locations, size, height, orientation, design and plans of all signs and outdoor lighting. A detail drawing showing type of fixture and level of wattage should be provided.  For site plans showing a high level of illumination, the Town may require an iso-lux plan indicating levels of illumination in footcandles, at ground level.
  2. That all exterior lights and illuminated signs shall be designed, located, installed and directed in such a manner as to prevent objectionable light (and glare across) property lines and disability glare at any location on or off the property.

    The "maintained horizontal illuminance recommendations" set by the Illuminating Engineering Society of North America (IES) shall be observed. (See attached Appendix A) For some examples of unacceptable and acceptable fixtures, see Appendix B.

  3. All parking area lighting will be full cut-off type fixtures. No dished or drop-lens or refractor types shall be allowed.  Downward directed, full cut-off wall washes are acceptable to enhance visibility and contrast.
  4. Uplighting is prohibited. Externally lit signs, displays, facades, buildings and aesthetic lighting must be lit from the top and shine downward.  The lighting must be shielded to prevent direct glare and/or light trespass. The lighting must also be, as much as physically possible, contained to the target area. Self-illuminated exterior signs are prohibited.
  5. Billboards, even if lit from above, are prohibited, as they are inconsistent with the aesthetics of the law.
  6. All building lighting for security or aesthetics will be full cut-off or a shielded type, not allowing any upward distribution of light. Floodlighting is discouraged, and if used, must be shielded to prevent:
    a) disability glare for drivers or pedestrians
    b) light trespass beyond the property line
    c) light above a 45-degree horizontal plane.
    Wallpack type fixtures are not acceptable unless they are full cut-off.  All decorative and acorn-style Colonial or Victorian style fixtures must be the new full cut-off type.
  7. Adjacent to residential property, no direct light source will be visible at the property line at ground level or above
  8. All commercial non-essential lighting will be required to be turned off after business hours, leaving only the necessary lighting for site security. ("Non-essential" can apply to: display, aesthetic, parking and sign lighting.)  The use of timers and/or security motion sensors are encouraged to limit the use of lighting to the time period necessary.
  9. Sports fields and tennis/racquet ball courts may be lighted, provided that lighting fixtures are provided with baffles, shields, and or internal optics which limit the lighting fixture's direct light distribution to the playing area and which block all view to the lighting fixture's lamp (i.e. view of bulb) from adjacent areas. Sports lighting must be extinguished no later than 1 hour after the conclusion of the sporting or public event.
  10. Light from Bollards shall be full cut-off, downward directed, and fully shielded with no shiny internal reflective surfaces causing glare at the eye-level of a motorist or pedestrian. The use of passive safety reflectors on driveways or roadways is encouraged as a low-tech but effective alternative.
  11. Searchlights and other high intensity narrow beam fixtures shall not be used except for emergencies.  Lighting fixtures having flashing rotating, moving or pulsating sources are also prohibited, except by police, fire, and emergency vehicles or Town-approved safety use.

C. Permits

(1)   Except as otherwise provided in this subsection, a permit shall be required for the following uses.

(a)   Lighting of signs
(b)   Uses set forth in this section

(2) A permit shall not be required for temporary holiday and special event lighting of a non-promotional nature, provided that such lighting is limited to a maximum of 60 days per year.  For these purposes low wattage incandescent or LED sources shall be permitted.

(3) A permit shall be required for the lighting of sports fields and tennis/racquet ball courts. The applicant must submit a lighting plan with fixtures that limit the light distribution to the playing area and block all view of the lighting fixture's lamp from adjacent areas.  A shutoff method or timer must be a part of the plan to extinguish sports lights no more than 1 hour after the cessation of play.

(3) Permits shall be issued by the department or board having approval authority over the underlying action, e.g. the Building Department for Building Permits and the Planning Board for site plans.

D. Effect

This law shall take effect 20 days after enactment and filing with the Secretary of State.

E. Variances

Variances to this law may only be granted by majority consent of the Zoning Board of Appeals of the Town of Kent.



(From Page 3, IESNA Recommended Practice RP-20-98)

  Basic  Enhanced Security
UNIFORMITY RATIO, Maximum to minimum 20:1 15:1


Examples on the left are unacceptable unless they can be fully shielded.  Exceptions: The obsolete Dusk to Dawn security light, Drop Lens Cobra streetlight and unshielded acorn/Colonial type may not be used in any new construction.


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Wednesday, January 5, 2005