Outdoor-Lighting Ordinance of Cloudcroft, NM


Below is the outdoor-lighting ordinance for the town of Cloudcroft, New Mexico, which was formally approved and adopted at the June 1995 meeting of the Cloudcroft Village Council. The Ordinance (No. 267) had been pre-published three times in the Newpaper before final adoption. Only one minor objection was registered from a citizen, who, however, did not attend the final adoption meeting. Supplied courtesy of Warren Offutt, who wrote it:

CLOUDCROFT, that a new Chapter 7, Article 7 to the Cloudcroft Code
is adopted to read as follows:

7-7-1 Purpose and Applicability.

(a) The purpose of this ordinance is to improve nighttime public
safety, utility and security by restricting the night-time emission
of light rays which are the source of light trespass and/or
unnecessary glare, and/or are detrimental to the safety and/or
security of persons, property or vehicular traffic, and/or are
detrimental to the traditional aesthetic values of the Village,
and/or unnecessarily restrict persons from the peaceful enjoyment
of their property, and/or are detrimental to astronomical
observations. The provisions of this chapter shall apply to all
outdoor lighting devices for illumination or advertisement and
installed after the effective date of this ordinance, except as
hereinafter otherwise specified.

(b) The provisions of this chapter, except for Section 7-7-5 (a)
and Section 7-7-5 (c), do not apply to glass tubes filled with
neon, argon or krypton, or to outdoor advertising signs constructed
of translucent material and illuminated wholly from within.

However, after January 1, 1998, newly installed or replaced outdoor
advertising signs constructed of translucent material and
illuminated wholly from within shall be of the type having dark
background with bright/colored characters. Such signs having bright
background with dark or colored characters shall not be installed
after January 1, 1998.

7-7-2 Effect on Other Codes.

The provisions of this ordinance are intended to supplement
other applicable codes and requirements. Compliance with all
applicable provisions of building, electrical and other codes must
be observed. In the event of a conflict between the requirements
of this code and other requirements, the more stringent requirement
shall apply.

7-7-3 Shielding.

General Requirements. Except as otherwise provided below or in
Section 7-7-1 (b) above, all outdoor lighting devices or fixtures
shall be shielded in such a manner that light rays emitted by the
device or fixture, whether directly from the lamp or indirectly
from the fixture, are restricted to regions below an angle 15
degrees beneath the horizontal plane running through the lowest
point on the fixture where light is emitted. No significant
intensity of light shall be emitted from the fixture horizontally,
nor above the horizon, nor above the region defined above.

In general, all outdoor lighting shall be downward directed except
where specified otherwise in this Chapter.

(Note: Luminaires meeting restricted emission requirements are
sometimes described commercially as hooded, shielded, or full cut-
off fixtures, however, not all luminaires so designated meet the
above angular requirement.)

7-7-4 Light Pollution; General Requirements.

(a) One hundred twenty (120) days following the effective date
of this ordinance, only shielded outdoor light fixtures which
conform to the requirement of Section 7-7-3 may be installed.

(b) After the effective date of this ordinance, only shielded,
low pressure sodium outdoor lighting fixtures may be newly
installed to provide illumination for public streets.

However, in the event that the Otero County regulations permit high
pressure sodium lamps for general street and highway lighting, or
for other good and sufficient reasons, high pressure sodium lamps
may be used instead of the low pressure sodium lamps as specified
in this paragraph (b) upon written approval of the Village Council.

In the case of the replacement (see Section 7-7-6) of light
fixtures installed to provide illumination for public streets, if
existing circuitry does not permit replacement of an individual
light fixture with a low-pressure sodium light fixture, high
pressure sodium may be used instead.

Regardless of lamp or fixture type, the shielding requirements of
Section 7-7-3 are applicable. Additional shielding to eliminate
light trespass onto adjoining residential properties shall be
installed if requested by the residential property owner or

(c) All outdoor light fixtures maintained on public or private
property, whether installed before, on or after the effective date
of this ordinance, shall be turned off between 11:00 PM (local
time) and sunrise except when used for:

(1) Commercial and industrial uses (such as sales, assembly
and repair areas) where business is conducted after 11:00
PM, but only while the business is open to the public;
(2) Illuminated advertising signs on the premises of a
business while it is open to the public;
(3) Lighting necessary for security purposes or to illuminate
walkways or roadways;
(4) Recreational use that continues after 11:00 PM, but only
for so long as such use continues.

(d) The outdoor operation of searchlights, lasers or other high-
intensity beams is prohibited.

7-7-5 Other Requirements.

(a) Flashing Lights. The use of flashing, rotating or pulsating
lights in/on any outdoor sign or other lighting device is
prohibited after one (1) year from the effective date of this
ordinance. This provision shall not apply to flashing, rotating
or pulsating lights intended to warn of hazards and danger.

(b) Light Trespass and Residential spill-over. In addition to
the general provisions of this Ordinance, offstreet lighting shall
be shielded and/or directed in such a manner that it illuminates
only the user’s premises and does not spill over into neighboring
residential areas so as to interfere with the peaceful enjoyment of
residential or public properties.

(c) No lighting fixture or device may be operated in such manner
as to constitute a hazard or danger to persons, or to safe
vehicular operation.

(d) Signs and BillBoards. Illuminating fixtures for advertising
or other signs shall be such that the illumination is confined to
the area of the sign or billboard; no significant direct spill-over
is permitted. Under no conditions may signs or billboards be
illuminated from below. Any such illuminating fixture shall be
placed above its respective sign or billboard such that the
secondary (specular) reflected light from the surface of the sign
or billboard is directed down toward the ground.

(e) Motion Detector Security Lights. Motion detector security
lights, which are normally “off” and which are activitated “on” for
less than 4 minutes occasionally when motion is detected, are
exempt from strict control of emission angles as defined in Section
7-7-3, but are not exempt from Sections 7-7-5 (b) or (c).

(f) Outdoor Recreational Facilities. Outdoor recreational
facilities designed for specifically scheduled sporting events are
exempt from the specific shielding requirements of Section 7-7-3.
In its place, lighting for outdoor recreational facilities shall be
so designed, installed and operated as to confine at least 90
percent of the illumination to the recreational area. Recreational
facility fixtures shall be on elevated poles or structures so that
illumination is directed downward. No significant illumination may
extend above a horizontal plane from the lighting fixture.
Illumination from recreational facility fixtures shall be shielded
to minimize glare extending toward roadways or other places where
impairment of motorists’ vision might cause hazard. All such
recreational facilities shall have either (a) automatic shut-off
timer devices, or (b) a designated official with responsibility for
extinguishing the illumination at close of the recreational

(g) In the case of flags, statues or other top-of-pole mounted
objects which cannot be illuminated with down-lighting, upward
lighting may be used only in the form of one narrow-cone spotlight
which confines the illumination to the object of interest.

7-7-6 Nonconforming Fixtures “Grandfather Provision”. Except as
provided in Section 7-7-5, all outdoor lighting fixtures existing
and legally installed and operative before the effective date of
this ordinance are exempt from the requirements of this Ordinance.
Whenever a nonconforming fixture is replaced or moved, the
replacement thenceforth shall meet the requirements of this

7-7-7 Special Exemptions.

(a) Decorator lamps smaller 25 watt rating, or strings of up to
25 such lamps, used for holiday decorations are exempt from the
requirements of this Chapter within 15 days of recognized annually
occurring holidays.

Decorator lamps smaller than 7.5 watt rating may be used in any
desired string length under the same circumstances.

(b) Request for temporary exemption from the provisions of this
Ordinance may be submitted to the Village Council in written form
describing the reason for the request and the nature of the
request. If approved and granted in writing by an authorized
representative of the Village Council, such exemption shall be in
force for not more than 30 days. Request for a maximum of one 15
day renewal may be made in similar manner.

7-7-8 The installation, sale, offer for sale, lease or purchase of
any fixture not in comformance with this Ordinance is prohibited
after January 1, 1998.

The installation, sale, offer for sale, lease or purchase of any
mercury vapor lamp or lamp fixture for outdoor use is prohibited
after January 1, 1998.

7-7-8 Effective Date. The effective date of this ordinance shall
be five (5) days after the publication of Notice of Adoption by
title and general subject matter in the Alamogordo Daily News.

7-7-9 Penalty. Violations of this ordinance shall be subject to
the general penalty provisions contained in Section 1-1-8 of the
Cloudcroft Code.

7-7-10 Severability. The provisions of this ordinance are
severable, and if any provision of this ordinance or the
application thereof to any person or circumstance is held invalid,
the invalidity does not affect other provisions or applications of
the ordinance which can be given effect without the invalid
provisions or applications.

PASSED, APPROVED AND ADOPTED this _____day of__________, 1995.



Village Clerk

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