New Hampshire Citizens for Responsible Lighting (NHCRL)
461 Front Street, #1, Manchester, NH 03102
Web site: http://www.mv.com/users/lopez/nhcrl/
Proposal for the State of New Hampshire Outdoor Lighting Control Ordinance
New Hampshire Outdoor Lighting Code, December 12, 1998 Version
Section 1. Purpose and Intent: The purpose of this Code is to provide standards for outdoor lighting so that its use does not interfere with the beauty and quality of the New Hampshire night sky. It is the intent of this Code to encourage, through the regulation of the types, kinds, construction, installation, and uses of outdoor electrically powered illuminating devices, lighting practices, and systems, to conserve energy without decreasing safety, utility, security, and productivity while enhancing nighttime enjoyment of property within the jurisdiction of the State of New Hampshire. It is also the intent of this Code to minimize the intrusion of lighting across property lines, therefore avoiding disruption of the quality of life for nearby private residences, and, to avoid the disruption of natural instinctive cycles of flora and fauna within nearby natural areas.
Section 2. Conformance with Applicable Codes: All outdoor electrically powered illuminating devices shall be installed in conformance with the provisions of this Code, the Building Code, the Electrical Code, and the Sign Code of the jurisdiction as applicable and under appropriate permit and inspection.
Section 3. Approved Materials, Methods of Construction, or Installation/Operation: The provisions of this Code are not intended to prevent the use of any design, material, or method of installation or operation not specifically prescribed by this Code, provided any such alternate has been approved. The building official may approve any such proposed alternate providing he finds that it:
a. Provides at least approximate equivalence to that applicable specific requirements of this Code,
b. Is otherwise satisfactory and complies with the intent of this Code,
c. Has been designed or approved by a registered professional engineer and that the content and function promotes the intent of this Code.
Section 4. Definitions: As used in this Code, unless the context clearly indicates, certain words and phrases used in this chapter shall mean the following:
Sec. 4.1. “Person” means any individual, tenant, lessee, owner, or any commercial entity including but not limited to firm, business, partnership, joint venture, or corporation.
Sec. 4.2. “Installed” means the attachment, or assembly fixed in place, whether or not connected to a power source, of any outdoor lighting fixture.
Sec. 4.3. “Outdoor lighting fixture” means outdoor electrically powered illuminating devices, outdoor lighting or reflective surfaces, lamps and similar devices, permanently installed or portable, used for illumination, decoration, or advertisement. Such devices shall include, but are not limited to search, spot, and flood lights at or on:
1. Buildings and structures,
2. Recreational areas,
3. Parking lot lighting,
4. Landscape lighting,
5. Billboards and other signs (advertising or other),
6. Street lighting,
7. Product display area lighting,
8. Building overhangs and open canopies,
Sec. 4.4. “Light Trespass” means any artificial light falling outside of the boundaries of the property upon which it is installed.
Section 5. Shielding: All nonexempt outdoor lighting fixtures shall have shielding as required by Table 5 of this Code.
Sec. 5.1. “Fully shielded” shall mean outdoor light fixtures shielded or constructed so that no light rays are emitted by the installed fixture at angles greater than 20 degrees below the horizontal plane as certified by a photometry test report.
Sec. 5.2. “Partially shielded” shall mean outdoor light fixtures shielded or constructed so that no more than ten percent of the light rays are emitted by the installed fixture at angles greater than 20 degrees below the horizontal plane as certified by a photometry test report.
Fixture Lamp Type Shield Type
Low Pressure Sodium (LPS) Full (1)
High Pressure Sodium (HPS) Full
Mercury Vapor Lamps Prohibited
Metal Halide Lamps (HID) Full (2), (6), (7)
Other than Mercury Vapor
Fluorescent Full (3), (5)
Quartz Prohibited (4)
Any light source Full
20 watts or greater.
Any light source of None
20 watts or less.
Glass tubes filled None
with neon, argon, krypton.
Other sources As approved by the Building Official
1. This is the preferred light source to minimize undesirable light emission into the night sky affecting nature, recreational viewing, and astronomical observations. Fully shielded fixtures are required as described in Section 5.1.
2. Metal Halide lighting, used primarily for display purposes, shall not be used for security lighting after 11:00 PM or after closing hours if before 11:00 PM, local time. Fully shielded fixtures are required as described in Section 5.1.
3. Outdoor advertising signs of the type constructed of translucent materials and wholly illuminated from within, do not require shielding. Dark backgrounds with light lettering or symbols are preferred, to minimize detrimental effects. Unless conforming to the above dark background preference, total lamp wattage per property shall be less than 41 watts.
4. For the purposes of this Code, quartz lamps shall not be considered an incandescent light source.
5. Warm white and natural lamps are preferred to minimize detrimental effects.
6. A mixture of fully shielded Low Pressure Sodium and Metal Halide fixtures shall be allowed for applications where the designing engineer deems that color rendering is critical.
7. Fully shielded and installed metal halide fixtures shall be allowed for applications where the designing engineer deems that color rendering is critical.
Section 6. Outdoor Advertising Signs:
Sec 6.1. Top Mounted Fixtures Required: Lighting fixtures used to illuminate any outdoor advertising sign, street sign, or directive sign, shall be mounted on the top of the sign structure. All such fixtures shall comply with the shielding requirements of Section 5 and the time controls of minor Section 8.5.
Sec 6.2. Light Spillage: Lighting fixtures used to illuminate any outdoor advertising sign, street sign, or directive sign, shall not cause light to spill beyond the boundaries of such sign.
Sec. 6.3. Prohibitions: See Section 8.5 for prohibitions.
Sec. 6.4. Compliance Limit: Any and All existing outdoor structures shall be brought into conformance with this Code within four years from the date of adoption of this provision.
Section 7. Submission of Plans and Evidence of Compliance with Code Subdivision Plans:
Sec 7.1. Submission Contents: The applicant for any permit required by any provision of the laws of this jurisdiction, in connection with proposed work involving outdoor lighting fixtures, shall submit (as part of the application for permit) evidence that the proposed work will comply with this Code. The submission shall contain, but shall not necessarily be limited to the following, all or part of which may be required elsewhere in the laws of this jurisdiction upon application for the required permit:
1. Plans indicating the location on the premises, and the type of illuminating devices, fixtures, lamps, supports, reflectors, and other devices;
2. Description of the illuminating devices, fixtures, lamps, supports, reflectors, and other devices. Additionally, the description may include, but is not limited to, catalog cuts by manufacturers and drawings (including sections where required);
3. Photometry data, such as that furnished by manufacturers or similar showing the angle of cut off or light emissions.
Sec 7.2. Additional Submissions: The above required plans, descriptions, and data shall be sufficiently complete to enable the plans examiner to readily determine whether compliance with the requirements of this Code will be secured. If such plans, descriptions, and data cannot enable this ready determination, by reason of the nature or configuration of the devices, fixtures, or lamps proposed, the applicant shall additionally submit as evidence of compliance to enable such determination such certified reports of tests as will do so provided that these tests shall have been performed and certified by a recognized testing laboratory.
Sec. 7.3. Subdivision Plan Certification: If any subdivision proposes to have installed street or other common or public area outdoor lighting, the final plan shall contain a statement certifying that said plan will adhere to the applicable provisions of the State of New Hampshire Outdoor Lighting Code.
Sec 7.4. Lamp or Fixture Substitution: Should any outdoor light fixture or the type of light source therein be changed after the permit has been issued, a change request must be submitted to the building official for his approval, together with adequate information to assure compliance with this code, which must be received prior to substitution.
Section 8. Prohibitions:
Sec 8.1. Mercury Vapor Lamps and Fixtures:
1. The installation, sale, offer for sale, lease or purchase of any mercury vapor fixture, lamp element, or part thereof, for use as outdoor lighting of any form, shall be prohibited immediately upon adoption of this provision.
2. Any and All Mercury Vapor Lamps and Fixtures will be removed upon need of service or five years after the adoption of this provision.
Sec 8.2. Certain Other Lamps and Fixtures: The installation, sale, offering for sale, lease or purchase of any low pressure sodium, high pressure sodium, metal halide, fluorescent, quartz or incandescent outdoor lighting fixture, lamp, or part thereof, the use of which is not allowed by Table 5 is prohibited.
Sec 8.3. Laser Source Lights: Except as provided in minor Section 8.4, the use of laser source light or any similar high intensity light for outdoor advertising or entertainment, when projected above 20 degrees below the horizontal is prohibited.
Sec 8.4. Searchlights: The operation of searchlights for advertising purposes shall be prohibited between 10:00 p.m. and sunrise the following morning.
Sec. 8.5. Outdoor Advertising Off-Site Signs: Electrical illumination of outdoor advertising off-site signs between the hours of 11:00 p.m. and sunrise shall be prohibited upon adoption of this provision.
Section 9. Special Uses.
Sec. 9.1. Recreational Facilities: Any light source permitted by this Code may be used for lighting of outdoor recreational facilities (public or private), such as, but not limited to, football fields, soccer fields, baseball fields, softball fields, tennis courts, auto race tracks, horse race tracks, ski slopes, or show areas, provided all of the following conditions are met:
a. Lighting for parking lots and other areas surrounding the playing field, court, or track, shall comply with this Code as defined in Section 4 of this Code.
b. All fixtures used for event lighting shall be fully shielded as defined in Section 5 of this Code, or be designed or provided with sharp cut-off capability, to prohibit upward light, spill-light, light trespass, and glare.
c. All events shall be scheduled to complete all activity before or as near to 10:00 p.m. as practical. Under no circumstances shall any illumination of the playing field, court, slope, or track be permitted after 11:00 p.m. Except to conclude a scheduled event that was in progress before 11:00 p.m. and circumstances prevented concluding before 11:00 p.m.
Exceptions: Any recreational facilities located along roads and streets designated as scenic routes shall be lighted only using approved fixtures, as defined in Section 5 of this Code.
Sec. 9.2. Outdoor Display Lots: Any light source permitted by this Code may be used for lighting of outdoor display lots such as, but not limited to, automobile sales or rentals, recreational vehicle sales, or building material sales, provided all of the following conditions are met:
a. Lighting for parking lots and other areas surrounding the display lot shall comply with this Code for lighting as defined in Section 5 of this Code.
b. All fixtures used for display lighting shall be fully shielded as defined in Section 5 of this Code, or be designed or provided with sharp cut-off capability, so as to prohibit upward light, spill-light, light trespass, or glare.
c. Display lot lighting shall be turned off within thirty minutes after closing of the business. Under no circumstances shall the full illumination of the lot be permitted after 11:00 p.m. Any lighting used after 11:00 p.m. shall be used as security lighting.
Section 10. Temporary Exemptions:
Sec. 10.1. Any temporary emergency lighting needed by Police and Fire Departments, or other emergency services, as well as all vehicular luminaries, shall be exempt from the requirements of this article.
Sec. 10.2. Any hazard warning luminaries that are required by Federal regulatory agencies shall be exempt from the requirements of this article. Except that all luminaries used must be red in color and must be shown to be as close as possible to the Federally required minimum lumen output requirement for the specific task.
Sec. 10.3. Request; Renewal, Information Required: Any person may submit a written request, on a form prepared by the jurisdiction, to the building official for a temporary exemption request. A temporary exemption shall contain the following information:
1. Specific exemption or exemptions requested,
2. Type and use of the light fixture involved,
3. Duration of time requested exemption,
4. Type of lamp and calculated lumens,
5. Total wattage of lamp or lamps,
6. Proposed location on premises of the light fixture(s),
7. Previous temporary exemptions, if any, and addresses of premises thereunder,
8. Physical size of light fixture(s) and type of shielding provided,
9. Such other data and information as may be required by the building official.
Sec. 10.4. Approval and Duration: The building official shall have five business days from the date of submission of the request for temporary exemption to act, in writing, on the request. If approved, the exemption shall be valid for not more than thirty days from the date of issuance, of the approval. The approval shall be renewable at the discretion of the building official upon a consideration of all the circumstances. Each such renewed exemption shall be valid for not more than thirty days.
Sec 10.5. Disapproval and Appeal: If the request for temporary exemption is disapproved, the person making the request will have the appeal rights provided in Section 13.
Section 11. Other Exemptions:
Sec 11.1. Nonconformance:
1. Mercury Vapor Lamps in use for outdoor lighting on the effective date of the ordinance codified in this chapter shall not be so used.
2. Bottom-mounted outdoor sign lighting shall not be used, except as provided in Section 6.
3. All other outdoor light fixtures lawfully installed prior to and operable on the effective date of the ordinance codified in this chapter shall be brought into compliance with this code within seven years from that date. There shall be no change in use or lamp type, or any replacement or structural alteration made, without conforming to all applicable requirements of this Code.
4. It shall a direct violation of this provision to direct any light onto an adjacent property either directly or indirectly and without express permission of said property owner.
Sec. 11.2. Fossil Fuel Light: All outdoor light fixtures producing light directly by the combustion of natural gas or other fossil fuels are exempt from all requirements of this Code.
Sec. 11.3. State and Federal Facilities: Outdoor light fixtures installed on, and in connection with those facilities, and land, owned or operated by the Federal Government or the State of New Hampshire, or any department, division, agency or instrumentality thereof, shall meet all requirements of this Code.
Section 12. Appeals:
Any person substantially aggrieved by any decision of the building official made in administration of the Code has the right and responsibilities of appeal to the Advisory/Appeals Board of this jurisdiction.
Section 13. Law Governing Conflicts:
Where any provision of federal, state, county, or city statutes, codes, or laws conflicts with any provision of this code, the most restrictive shall govern unless otherwise regulated by law.
Section 14. Violations:
It shall be a violation for any person to violate any of the provisions of this Code. Each day during which the violation continues shall constitute a separate offense.
Section 15. Enforcement and Penalty:
Sec 15.1. As per Title 62, Chapter 651, section 651:2 of the New Hampshire Criminal Code:
1. When a violation of this Code is determined, the following penalty shall be imposed:
a. A fine of not more than twelve hundred dollars per violation shall be imposed. The imposition of a fine under this Code shall not be suspended.
b. Any other order deemed necessary in the discretion of the hearing officer, including correction or abatement of the violation.
2. Failure of a defendant to comply with any order contained in a judgment under this Code shall result in an additional fine of not more than twelve hundred dollars for each day the defendant fails to comply.