New Hampshire Citizens for Responsible
461 Front Street, #1, Manchester, NH
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
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
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:
Buildings and structures,
Parking lot lighting,
Billboards and other signs
(advertising or other),
Product display area lighting,
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
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.
- Section 5.
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
Section 10. Temporary
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:
- 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
- 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
- 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.
- For the purposes of this Code, quartz lamps shall not
be considered an incandescent light source.
- Warm white and natural lamps are preferred to
minimize detrimental effects.
- 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.
- Fully shielded and installed metal halide fixtures
shall be allowed for applications where the designing engineer deems that color rendering
- 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
- 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:
- Plans indicating the location on the premises, and
the type of illuminating devices, fixtures, lamps, supports, reflectors, and other
- 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
- 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:
- 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.
- 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
- Sec 8.4. Searchlights: The operation of searchlights
for advertising purposes shall be prohibited between 10:00 p.m. and sunrise the following
- 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.
Specific exemption or exemptions
Type and use of the light fixture
Duration of time requested exemption,
Type of lamp and calculated lumens,
Total wattage of lamp or lamps,
Proposed location on premises of the
Previous temporary exemptions, if
any, and addresses of premises thereunder,
Physical size of light fixture(s) and
type of shielding provided,
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:
Mercury Vapor Lamps in use for
outdoor lighting on the effective date of the ordinance codified in this chapter shall not
be so used.
Bottom-mounted outdoor sign lighting
shall not be used, except as provided in Section 6.
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.
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
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
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
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.