Town of Phelps, NY
Ontario County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Town Board of the Town of Phelps 11-14-2011 by L.L. No. 5-2011. Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Building code administration — See Ch. 60.
Site plan review — See Ch. 115.
Zoning — See Ch. 145.
A. 
The Town Board finds that regulating the use of outdoor lighting will help ensure the:
(1) 
Preservation and protection of the current rural nature of the Town of Phelps;
(2) 
Conservation of energy and resources while maintaining nighttime safety, utility, security and productivity;
(3) 
Minimization of adverse off-site impacts, including light trespass and obtrusive light;
(4) 
Curtailment of light pollution and the degradation of the nighttime visual environment;
(5) 
Protection of the natural environment from adverse effects of night lighting.
B. 
The purpose of this chapter is to provide the regulatory framework to ensure the installation of safe and attractive outdoor lighting needed to protect the health, safety and welfare of the residents and visitors to the community. It is also declared to be the purpose of these regulations to provide more specific requirements and standards in regard to lighting.
All outdoor lighting shall be installed in conformance with the provisions of this chapter and applicable Electrical and Energy Codes as per the New York State Building Codes. Where there may be a conflict in regulations and/or requirements, the more restrictive of the regulations and requirements shall apply.
All outdoor lighting shall be in conformance with the requirements of this chapter.
A. 
All outdoor lighting fixtures, including display lighting, shall be shielded, turned off after close of business, unless needed for safety or security, in which case the lighting shall be reduced to the minimum level necessary and may operate on motion detectors/sensors.
B. 
Petroleum stations. Island canopy ceiling fixtures shall be recessed so that the lens cover is flush with the bottom surface of the canopy or shielded by the fixture or edge of canopy so that the light is constrained to 85° or less from horizontal. Lights shall not be mounted on the top or sides of the canopy.
C. 
Recreational facilities, public or private. Lighting for outdoor recreational facilities shall be shielded according to the requirements set forth in § 92-5 below.
D. 
All light fixtures that are required to be fully shielded shall be installed and maintained so that the shielding is effective.
E. 
Outdoor floodlight projection above the horizontal plane is prohibited.
F. 
All outdoor light fixtures, except streetlights, shall be located, aimed or shielded so as to minimize stray light trespassing across property boundaries.
[Amended 1-14-2013 by L.L. No. 1-2013]
G. 
Search lights, laser source lights or any similar high-intensity light shall not be permitted, except in emergencies by police and fire personnel or at their direction.
H. 
On projects where an engineer or architect is used, the engineer or architect shall verify in writing to the Town that all outdoor lighting was installed in accordance with the approved plans and specifications.
I. 
External and internal illumination for all signs shall conform to the provisions of this chapter. External illumination meeting the requirements of this chapter is the preferred and encouraged illumination method for all signs. When considering an internally illuminated sign, the Planning Board shall take into consideration various aspects of the sign, including but not limited to size, color, proximity to street, residences, businesses, height, intensity of lighting, other signage in the area, type of lighting, and materials used to construct the sign. In addition, internally illuminated signs should be low intensity, have dark or opaque backgrounds, be compatible with other neighborhood signs or architectural features of the surrounding area and not block the visibility of other adjacent features. In no event shall an illuminated sign be placed or directed so as to permit the beams and illumination therefrom to be directed or beamed upon any adjacent public or private premises so as to cause glare or reflection that may constitute a nuisance or traffic hazard. No illuminated sign located adjacent to or across the street from any residential district shall be illuminated between the hours of 11:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m. unless the use to which the sign pertains is open for business.
[Amended 1-14-2013 by L.L. No. 1-2013]
J. 
Holiday decorations may remain on all night from November 15 to January 15.
K. 
All applications for site plan review pursuant to Chapter 115 shall be in conformance with this chapter. Whenever Chapter 115 requires the Planning Board to approve a site plan, no building permit shall be issued unless the Planning Board has made a specific finding that the application is in conformance with this chapter.
[Added 1-14-2013 by L.L. No. 1-2013]
Requirements:
Fixture/Lamp Types
Shielding Required
All light sources at 1,100 lumens and above (which is comparable to the light of a 75-watt standard incandescent bulb)
Fully
All light sources below 900 lumens (which is comparable to a 70-watt standard incandescent bulb)
None
Exceptions to § 92-5 above:
A. 
Any spot or flood luminaire having initial source lumens of 900 or less, provided that no direct light is focused so as to cause avoidance glare on adjoining property or roadways. Such luminaire may be redirected or its light output controlled so as to eliminate this glare and be eligible for exemption from this section.
B. 
Temporary lighting associated with circuses, fairs, carnivals or civic uses.
C. 
Construction or emergency lighting, provided such lighting is temporary and is discontinued immediately upon completion of the construction work or abatement of the emergency necessitating said lighting.
D. 
Temporary lighting lasting for less than 15 days.
E. 
Lighting within public right-of-way or easement for the principal purpose of illuminating streets or roads. No exemption shall apply to any lighting within the public right-of-way or easement when the purpose of the luminaire is to illuminate areas outside the public right-of-way or easement.
F. 
Lighting for public monuments and to light the United States Flag.
G. 
Holiday decorations from November 15 to January 15.
A. 
Blinking, flashing, moving, revolving, scintillating, flickering, changing intensity, scrolling and changing color lights shall be prohibited, except for temporary holiday displays, lighting for public safety or traffic control, or lighting required by the FAA for air traffic control and warning purposes.
[Amended 1-14-2013 by L.L. No. 1-2013]
B. 
Laser source lighting or any similar high-intensity light for outdoor advertising or entertainment is prohibited.
C. 
The installation, sale, offering for sale, lease or purchase of any mercury vapor light fixture for use as outdoor lighting is prohibited.
All exterior lights and illuminated signs shall be designed, located, installed and directed in such a manner as to prevent objectionable light at (and glare across) the property lines and glare at any location on or off the property. The "maintained horizontal illuminance recommendations" set by the Illuminating Engineering Society of North America (IESNA) shall be observed.
All applications for site plan and/or special use permit approval shall require a lighting plan showing conformity with the standards contained in this chapter. Such lighting plan shall indicate the location, type of lamp, luminaire, mounting height, source lumens, illuminance and glare control options, if any, for each light source and area. Illuminance may be plotted using manufacturer's photometric charts or the Planning Board may require iso-footcandle drawings to examine the interaction of all lighting proposed on the site. Any additional information necessary to show conformance to the standards set forth in this section shall also be provided. Additions or changes to an approved lighting plan shall be considered under the site plan review provisions of this chapter.
A. 
Lighting in conformance with this chapter is required for all parking lots having spaces for five or more vehicles. Light levels shall be designed to meet but not exceed the latest recommended levels from IESNA for the type of activity/area being lighted except light levels for ATMs which shall be in accordance with the New York State ATM Safety Act. Where no standard is available from the Illuminating Engineering Society of North America (IESNA), the applicable standard shall be determined by the Planning Board taking into account the levels for the closest IESNA activity.
B. 
Uniform light levels shall be achieved on the site. The uniformity ratio (average to minimum) shall not exceed 3:1 for parking and traffic areas or 4:1 for pedestrian areas.
C. 
Design should establish a hierarchy of lighting to ensure a smooth transition from bright areas to those with subdued lighting.
D. 
Maximum to average light levels should be kept within a 6:1 ratio. Light levels shall be maintained at design levels with lamp or luminaire replacement as needed.
E. 
Maximum heights and intensities of lighting shall conform to the following table:
[Amended 1-14-2013 by L.L. No. 1-2013]
Area
Overhead Feet
Intensity in Footcandles
Parking lots
12 to 15
0 to 0.5
Vehicular intersections
20 to 25
0.5 to 1.0
[Amended 1-14-2013 by L.L. No. 1-2013]
All exterior lighting shall be designed so that the bulb (point light source) is not directly visible from adjacent and neighboring properties or public rights-of-way. This can be accomplished using fixtures that "fully shield" the bulb behind opaque shielding (i.e., the light distribution is primarily down and/or up directed) or which utilize nontransparent diffusion material (e.g., glass, acrylic, or polycarbonate) in the case of fixtures with some sort of translucent lens(s) around the bulb compartment.
All luminaires whose initial source of lumens is equal to or greater than 1,100 must meet the following requirements:
A. 
Have a cut-off angle of 90° or less.
B. 
Wall-pack units are required to be opaque shielded or have optics that provide a cut-off angle of 70° or less.
C. 
Canopy lights must be recessed.
A. 
Roof-mounted area lighting is prohibited.
B. 
See § 92-10E of this chapter.
Light trespass is defined as the shining of light produced by a light fixture beyond the horizontal boundaries of the property on which it is located and vertically above the property. For all types of uses, light level shall be no greater than 1/2 of a footcandle at the property line.
The use of motion sensors, photocells, or photocell/timers to control duration of nighttime illumination is required for safety and security lighting. In all cases, light intensity shall be limited to between one and two footcandles.
A. 
Motion sensors are the preferred method for controlling nighttime illumination. These are only permitted where the sensor is triggered by activity within the owner's property lines.
B. 
Photocells are only permitted under the following conditions:
(1) 
At primary points of entrance (e.g., front entries) or in critical common areas for commercial and multifamily properties.
(2) 
Where the light sources are fully shielded by opaque material (i.e., the fixture illuminates the area but is not itself visibly bright).
C. 
Timer/photocell combinations are a preferred method when used for nighttime control at primary points of entrance (e.g., front entries) and may be used with fully shielded lighting fixtures with nontransparent diffusion material.
All outdoor lighting lawfully existing prior to the effective date of this chapter shall be deemed conforming to this section except that:
A. 
No installation of new luminaires (e.g., fixtures and bulbs) shall be permitted unless in conformance to this chapter.
B. 
All outdoor lighting that, in the opinion of the Code Enforcement Officer, is causing a glare on adjoining roadways and/or properties shall be required to submit lighting details to the Code Enforcement Officer showing that the existing lighting meets the requirements of this section or how such lighting will be brought into conformance.
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
FOOTCANDLE
A measurement of the amount/density of light falling on an object or surface away from the light source. A non-SI unit of illuminance or light intensity, defined as the amount of illumination the inside surface of a one-foot radius sphere would be receiving if there were a uniform point source of one candela in the exact center of the sphere.
FULLY SHIELDED LUMINAIRE
A luminaire with opaque top and sides, capable of emitting light only in the lower photometric hemisphere as installed. See examples.
GLARE
Light entering the eye directly from luminaires or indirectly from reflective surfaces that causes visual discomfort or reduced visibility.
LUMEN
A measurement of brightness. The unit of luminous flux, a measure of the power of light perceived by the human eye. The amount of light emitted through an angle called a steradian by a source with the intensity of one wax candle, radiating uniformly in all directions.
LUMINAIRE
The complete lighting unit (fixture) consisting of a lamp, or lamps and ballast(s) (when applicable), together with the parts designed to distribute light (reflector, lens, diffuser), to position and protect the lamps, and to connect the lamps to the power supply.
UP LIGHT
For an exterior luminaire, flux radiated in the hemisphere at or above the horizontal plane.
[Added 1-14-2013 by L.L. No. 1-2013]
A. 
A violation of this chapter is declared to be an offense, punishable by a fine of $250 or imprisonment for a period not to exceed 15 days, or both. Each day that such a violation continues to exist shall constitute a separate and additional violation.
[Amended 8-10-2015 by L.L. No. 3-2015]
B. 
This chapter shall be administered and enforced by the Code Enforcement Officer of the Town of Phelps.