Residential Lighting Standards

The purpose of this provision is to curtail and reverse the degradation of the nighttime visual environment by minimizing light pollution glare and light trespass through regulation of the form and use of outdoor lighting; and to conserve energy and resources while maintaining nighttime safety, utility security and productivity.

All luminaires on single and two family residential developments and all accessory structures, regardless of whether a certificate of occupancy or certificate of compliance is required, must comply with the provisions and standards of this section. Nothing in this section shall be interpreted to supersede any requirements of Ordinance No. 01-06, which pertains to sea turtle conservation. In the event of a conflict with residential areas regulated by the Sea Turtle Ordinance, the terms of that ordinance will apply.

The following are exempt from the provisions of this section:

  1. Outdoor light fixtures producing light directly by the combustion of fossil fuels, such as kerosene and propane.
  2. Low wattage decorative lighting fixtures (comprised by incandescent bulbs of less than eight watts each or other lamps of output less than 100 lumens each) used for decoration in the lanai or porch area not visible from the road (however, the same lights in the yard may only be used for decoration from November 15 through January 15 for the holidays and not more than 30 days use in any one calendar year for other times).
  3. Candles.
  4. Dock lights (“snook lights”) are permitted, as long as the light is shielded and is directional so that it does not reflect upon adjoining properties or create a navigational hazard.
  5. Flagpoles not to exceed 20 feet in height may have a luminaire mounted at the bottom of the pole, as long as the light is shielded and is directional to illuminate a flag as required by flag etiquette and/or protocol.

When specific standards are not addressed in these sources, the standards of the Illuminating Engineering Society of North America (IESNA) will apply. Between the hours of 10:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m. all single- and two-family residential developments must conform to following provisions:

  1. Existing outdoor lighting. The following standards apply to existing outdoor lighting installed and in existence as of February 1, 2008:
    1. Luminaire design standards. The following standards apply to luminaire designs:
      1. All light fixtures shall have bulbs that are fully recessed within the fixture and may not emit light above horizontal plane.
      2. The cone of emitted light shall not project on to a neighboring property.
    2. Luminaire mount standards. The following standards apply to luminaire mountings:
      1. The pole on which a luminaire is mounted shall not exceed the height of the lowest eave of the dwelling unit, or 15 feet, whichever is lower.
      2. Luminaires mounted on buildings may only be attached to walls and may not exceed the height of the eave, or 25 feet, whichever is lower.
  2. New outdoor lighting. The following standards apply to new outdoor lighting installed after February 1, 2008, between the hours of 10:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m.:
    1. Luminaire design standards. The following standards apply to luminaire designs:
      1. All light fixtures shall have bulbs that are fully recessed within the fixture and may not emit light above horizontal plane.
      2. The cone of emitted light shall not project on to a neighboring property.
      3. All luminaires shall have a maximum lamp wattage of 100 watts for incandescent bulb types and 26 watts for compact fluorescent bulb types.
      4. Solar lights are encouraged.
      5. Light from a luminaire that projects on to roadways that causes glare, annoyance, discomfort, or loss of visual ability shall not be permitted.
      6. Lighting that is directed in such a manner as to shine light rays above the horizontal plane shall not be permitted.
      7. Flashing or moving lights that change at intervals more frequently than once each six seconds shall not be permitted with the exception of low wattage decorative lighting fixtures (comprised by incandescent bulbs of less than eight watts each or other lamps of output less than 100 lumens each) used for decoration.
      8. Luminaires activated by motion detectors shall not remain on for more than five minutes and may not be activated by movement that occurs outside property boundaries.
    2. Luminaire mount standards. The following standards apply to luminaire mountings:
      1. The pole on which a luminaire is mounted shall not exceed the height of the lowest eave of the dwelling unit, or 15 feet, whichever is lower.
      2. Luminaires mounted on buildings may only be attached to walls and may not exceed the height of the eave, or 25 feet, whichever is lower.
      3. The pole on which a luminaire is mounted must be placed on the interior of the site at least 15 feet from the property boundary.

The applicant for any building permit, certificate of occupancy or certificate of compliance, as applicable under the provisions of the building code involving outdoor lighting fixtures, must submit as part of the application evidence that the proposed work will comply with the outdoor lighting standards of this Code.

Specifically, the submission must include the following:

  1. Plans indicating the location on the premises and the type of illuminating devices, fixtures, lamps, supports, reflectors and other devices.
  2. A detailed description of the illuminating devices, fixtures, lamps, supports, reflectors, and other devices under consideration for the project, with as much detail as possible, including manufacturer’s catalogue cuts and drawings including pictures, sections, and proposed wattages for each fixture. Once a lighting device has been chosen, the owner must submit all information listed above related to the selected lighting device. In no case may a certificate of compliance be issued prior to the submission of the required information related to the owner’s lighting device selection.
  3. All applications for building permits, certificates of occupancy or certificates of compliance must provide data such as that furnished by the manufacturer of the proposed illuminating devices, showing the angle of cut-off and other characteristics of the light emissions including references to the standards contained herein.
  4. All applications for building permits, certificates of occupancy or certificates of compliance must provide the location, number, wattage, elevation, orientation, fixture cut sheets, and all types of proposed exterior artificial light sources must be included on the light plan. A city-approved lighting plan is required before a building permit will be issued. Final inspections for a certificate of occupancy or certificate of compliance will be performed by the city.

The following information and lighting examples is provided courtesy of opens in a new windowInternational Dark-Sky Association (IDA).

The illustration below provides an easy visual guide to understand the differences between unacceptable, unshielded light fixtures and those fully shielded fixtures that minimize skyglow, glare and light trespass.

opens in a new windowGlossary of Lighting Terms

Lighting examples image