ZONING ORDINANCE AMENDMENT
OUTDOOR LIGHT FIXTURES CONTROL
Adopted January 18, 2000
Part 9 9-1000 OUTDOOR LIGHT CONTROL
9-1001 Purpose and Intent
The purpose of this section is to regulate the placement, orientation,
distribution and fixture type and size of outdoor lighting. The intent
of this section is to encourage lighting that provides safety, utility
and security, as well as preventing glare on public roadways, and to
protect the privacy of adjoining properties.
9-1002 Conformance with Applicable Codes and Ordinances
All outdoor artificial illuminating devices shall be installed in
conformance with the provisions of this Article, and applicable
provisions of the Zoning Ordinance. Where there is conflict between
the provisions of this Article and applicable provisions of the Zoning
Ordinance, the most restrictive shall govern.
9-1003 Approved Materials and Methods of Installation
The provisions of this Article are not intended to prevent the use of
any equipment, material or method of installation not specifically
prescribed by this Article provided the alternative has been approved
by the Zoning Administrator. The Zoning Administrator may approve any
such alternative provided that the proposed design provides the
approximate equivalence to the specific requirements of this Article.
1. Outdoor Light Fixtures shall mean outdoor artificial illuminating
devices, outdoor fixtures, lamps or other devices, permanent or portable,
used for illumination, direction or advertisement. Such devices shall
include, but are not limited to search, spot, or flood lights for:
a. buildings and structures, including canopies and overhangs
b. recreational areas
c. parking lot lighting
d. landscape lighting
e. signs, including billboards
f. display and service areas
2. Installed shall mean the initial installation of outdoor light
fixtures defined herein,following the effective date of this Article
but shall not apply to those outdoor light fixtures installed prior to
3. Shielded, Fully shall mean fixtures that are shielded in such a manner
that light emitted by the fixture, either directly from the lamp or
indirectly from the fixture, are projected below a horizontal plane
running through the lowest point on the fixture where light is emitted.
This means that a fully shielded fixture is one used in such a way that
it allows no direct or internally reflected light to shine above the
4. Footcandle. A quantitative unit of measure referring to the
measurement of illumination incident at a single point. One footcandle
is equal to one lumen uniformly distributed over an area of one square
5. Full Cutoff Angle. The angle formed by a line drawn from the light
source and a line perpendicular to the ground from the light source,
beyond which no light is emitted. Refer to example graphics. (Refer
to Figure 2)
6. Initial Lumens. The lumens emitted from a lamp, as specified by the
manufacturer of the lamp.
7. Lamp. The component of a luminaire that produces light. A lamp is
also commonly referred to as a bulb.
8. Lumen. A standard unit of measurement referring to the amount of
light energy emitted by a light source, without regard to the
effectiveness of its distribution.
9. Luminaire. A complete lighting unit consisting of a lamp or lamps
together with the components designed to distribute the light, to
position and protect the lamps, and to connect the lamps to the power
supply. A luminaire is also commonly referred to as a fixture.
10. Outdoor Luminaire. A luminaire which is permanently installed
outdoors including, but not limited to, devices used to illuminate
any site, structure, or sign.
11. Photometric Plan. A point by point plan depicting the intensity
and location of lighting on the property.
All outdoor light fixtures except those exempted by Section 9-1007
and those regulated by Section 9-1006.2 shall be fully shielded as
identified in Section 9-1006. A fully shielded fixture must be a full
cutoff luminaire or a decorative luminaire with full cutoff optics,
and is defined as an outdoor lighting that is shielded or constructed
so that all light emitted is projected below a horizontal plane
running through the lowest part of the fixtures. The light source
visibility shall be shielded from the adjoining property.
9-1006 General Requirements for all Zoning Districts
1. Public or Private Recreational Facilities:
a. Primary Playing Areas. Where playing fields or other
recreational areas are to be illuminated, lighting fixtures
shall be specified in the Lighting Plan, mounted and aimed so
that the illumination falls within the primary playing area
and immediate surroundings so that no direct light
illumination is directed off site.
b. Recreation Parking Areas. Lighting for these parking areas
shall meet the requirements identified in 9-1006.5.
2. Outdoor Illumination of Building, Landscaping and Signs. The
unshielded outdoor illumination of any building or landscaping is
prohibited. Lighting fixtures used to illuminate an outdoor
advertising sign either shall be by directed ground lighting sign
or mounted on the top of the sign, and shall comply with shielding
3. All outdoor lighting fixtures, including display lighting, shall
be turned off after the close of business, unless needed for safety
or security, in which case the lighting shall be reduced to the
minimum level necessary.
4. Gasoline Station/Convenience Store Aprons and Canopies.
a. The Lighting fixture bulbs shall be recessed into a canopy
ceiling so that the bottom of the fixture is flush with the
ceiling so that light is restrained to no more than 85 degrees
from vertical as shown in Figure 1.
b. As an alternative to recessed ceiling lights, indirect
lighting may be used where the light is directed upward and
then reflected down from the underside of the canopy. In this
case, light fixtures shall be shielded so that direct
illumination is focused exclusively on the underside of the
c. Lights shall not be mounted on the top or sides (facia) of
the canopy, and the sides of the canopy shall not be illuminated.
d. The lighting for new facilities (pump islands and under
canopies) shall have a minimum of 1.0 footcandle at grade, and
the average horizontal illumination cannot exceed 10 footcandles
at grade level, subject to a uniformity ratio (ratio of average
to minimum illuminance) no greater than 4:1. The standards herein
are based on the Illuminating Engineering Society of North
America (IESNA) RP-33, Lighting for Exterior Environments.
5. All Parking Lots, Loading and Display Areas. This lighting
requirement applies to townhouse and multi-family, educational,
institutional, commercial recreation, public, commercial business and
retail, motor vehicle related, wholesaling, and limited and general
industrial use categories identified within the Zoning Ordinance.
a. Lighting for all parking, display and loading areas shall
not exceed an average horizontal illumination level of 2.5
footcandles. All lighting fixtures serving these areas shall be
cut-off fixtures as defined by the Illuminating Engineering
Society of North America (IESNA);
b. Maximum Mounting Height*
Residential: 20 feet
Non-Residential: 25 feet
* Height is measured from the ground surface to the
bottom of the lighting fixture.
6. Mercury Vapor. The installation of mercury vapor fixtures is
prohibited, except for agricultural buildings, paddocks and similar use
areas in RA and RC zoning districts. For residential structures on
agricultural property, lighting must be full cut-off fixtures, or
retrofitted with, for example, the Hubble Sky Cap and illumination
7. Spillover light, vertical or horizontal, from parking area
luminaires onto public roads and property in residential or rural Rural
Agricultural (RA) and Rural Conservation (RC) zoning districts shall not
exceed one-half (1/2) footcandle at the property line.
1. Nonconforming Fixtures. Outdoor light fixtures installed prior to
the effective date of this Article are exempt from the provisions of
this Article, provided, however, that no change in use, replacement,
and structural alteration of outdoor light fixtures shall be made unless
it thereafter conforms to the provisions of this Article.
2. Lighting which is not subject to this chapter by state or federal law.
3. Roadway and Airport lighting and security lighting controlled and
activated by motion sensor devices for a duration of fifteen (15) minutes
4. Lighting of the United States of America or Commonwealth of Virginia
flags and other non-commercial flags expressing constitutionally protected
5. Temporary circus, fair, carnival, or civic uses.
6. Special Conditions. The Zoning Administrator may grant an exemption
to the requirements of Section 9-1006 only upon a written finding that
there are conditions warranting the exemption and that there are no
conforming fixtures that would suffice.
7. Construction and Emergency Lighting. Lighting necessary for construction
or emergencies is exempt from the provisions of this Article provided said
lighting is temporary and is discontinued immediately upon completion of
the construction work or abatement of the emergency necessitating said
8. Lighting associated with agricultural uses structures, such as a barn,
paddock area. Residential buildings and parking associated with a farm
or other agricultural uses are not exempted from the lighting requirements
1. Any person submitting a site plan or applying for a building,
electrical or sign permit to install outdoor lighting fixtures shall as
a part of said application submit evidence that the proposed work will
comply with this Article.
2. The lighting plan application shall include at least the following:
a. A site plan drawn to scale showing building(s), landscaping,
parking areas and proposed exterior lighting fixtures;
b. Location of all post, canopy, supports and light fixtures,
including the height of each fixture, for any building,
structure, parking, display and loading areas;
c. Specifications of the illuminating devices, lamps, supports,
and other Devices, including designation as Illuminating
Engineering Society of North America (IESNA) "cut-off" fixtures.
This description may include but is not limited to manufacturers
catalog cuts, and drawings including sections where required;
d. Plan shall show locations of all pole mounted and building
mounted fixtures and a numerical 25 foot by 25 foot grid of
lighting levels, in footcandles, that the fixtures will produce
on the ground (photometric report). The photometric report will
indicate the minimum and maximum footcandle levels within the
lighted area of the site. The minimum (lowest number) is usually
at the outer edges of the illuminated area or between two
fixtures. The average light level is determined by adding the
footcandle value of all the points in the grid and dividing
by the total number of points.
This information is available from the manufacturer of the
specified fixture. (Refer to Figure 3 for an example of this
3. The above required plans and descriptions shall be sufficiently
complete to enable the Zoning Administrator to readily determine
whether compliance with the requirements of this Article will be
secured. If such plans and descriptions cannot enable this ready
determination, by reason of the nature or configuration of the devices,
fixtures or lamps proposed, the applicant shall submit evidence of
compliance by certified test reports as performed by a recognized
9-1009 Issuance of Permit for Lighting on Private Property
Prior to issuance of a building, electrical or sign permit, the
Zoning Administrator shall determine that the submitted plans and
details for said permit are in conformance with this Article. The
stamping of the plans and the signature of the director or his
designated representative and the date of the signature shall
indicate that the plans are in conformance.
9-1010 Amendment to Permit for Lighting on Private Property
Should the applicant desire to substitute outdoor light fixtures
or lamps to be installed on private property after a permit has
been issued, the applicant shall submit all changes to the Zoning
Administrator for approval, with adequate information to assure
compliance with this Article.
Except for street lighting within the right-of-way and for
temporary exemptions as provided in Section 9-1007.1-5, any
applicant's appeal of the Zoning Administrator's decision shall
be made to the Board of Zoning Appeals, and the procedures of
the Zoning Ordinance and shall apply.
9-1012 Request for Temporary Exemptions
1. Request. Any person may submit a written request on a form
prepared by the Zoning Administrator for a temporary exemption
to the requirements of this Article.
The Request for Temporary Exemption shall contain the following
a. Specific exemptions requested.
b. Type and use of exterior light involved.
c. Duration of time for requested exemption.
d. Type of lamp and calculated lumens.
e. Total wattage of lamp or lamps.
f. Proposed location of exterior light.
g. Previous temporary exemptions, if any.
h. Physical size of exterior light and type of shielding
In addition to the above data, the Zoning Administrator may
request any additional information which would enable a reasonable
evaluation of the Request for Temporary Exemption.
The fee for a temporary exemption shall be as required for a
variance to the Zoning Ordinance.
2. Appeal. The Zoning Administrator, within five (5) days from
the date of the properly completed Request for Temporary
Exemption, shall approve or reject in writing the Request.
If rejected, the individual making the Request shall have the
right of appeal to the Board of Zoning Appeals.