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H.99

Introduced by   Representatives Kiss of Burlington, Aswad of Burlington, Atkins of Winooski, Bohi of Hartford, Botzow of Pownal, Connell of Warren, Cross of Winooski, Deen of Westminster, Donahue of Northfield, Donovan of Burlington, Dostis of Waterbury, Edwards of Brattleboro, Fisher of Lincoln, Howrigan of Fairfield, Hummel of Underhill, Keenan of St. Albans City, Larson of Burlington, Maier of Middlebury, Marek of Newfane, Masland of Thetford, McCullough of Williston, McLaughlin of Royalton, Nease of Johnson, Peterson of Williston, Reese of Pomfret, Schiavone of Shelburne, Seibert of Norwich, Sharpe of Bristol and Zuckerman of Burlington

Referred to Committee on

Date:

Subject:  Conservation; outdoor lighting guidelines; municipal planning; product ban

Statement of purpose:  This bill proposes to establish state policy regarding  outdoor lighting and to establish an advisory board with a mandate to develop and update outdoor lighting guidelines designed to limit illumination levels, prevent glare, reduce light pollution, prevent light trespass, and promote energy efficiency.  The bill proposes that state-owned, state-funded, and

state-leased outdoor lighting installations will conform with the guidelines.  The bill proposes that if utilities are required by the state to accelerate replacement of noncomplying or inefficient outdoor lighting fixtures, the public service board should consider allowing recovery for the costs of replacement in rates approved by the public service board.  It would require the advisory board to inform the general public of the purposes of the bill and the guidelines developed under the bill.  It would require the advisory board to work with planners, architects, and others to raise public awareness, educate, and promote good principles of planning, and develop appropriate outdoor lighting plans.  It would require the advisory board to work with specified professional licensing boards to assure that their respective licensees understand the policy and guidelines, and to encourage these practitioners to impart that knowledge to their customers so as to support consumer choices that are consistent with the guidelines.  The bill proposes to require that the advisory board assess progress under the bill no less frequently than every three years.  The bill proposes to ban the sale and eventually the installation and use of outdoor lighting fixtures for unshielded noncut-off luminaires of 30,000 lumens or more by utilities and public entities.  It proposes to enable municipal legislative bodies to “lead by example” and to manage outdoor lighting installations in a manner that will limit illumination levels, prevent glare, reduce light pollution, prevent light trespass, and promote energy efficiency.  It proposes to make it a goal of the planning and zoning chapter to encourage appropriate outdoor lighting in situations where outdoor lighting is necessary, and it would enable municipalities to address outdoor lighting in their zoning bylaws and subdivision regulations.

AN ACT RELATING TO ESTABLISHING GUIDELINES FOR THE USE OF OUTDOOR LIGHTING

It is hereby enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Vermont:

Sec. 1.  10 V.S.A. chapter 24 is added to read:

Chapter 24.  Outdoor Lighting

§ 591.  OUTDOOR LIGHTING

(a)  Legislative purpose.  It is the purpose of this chapter to develop voluntary guidelines to be available for use in the design and installation of  outdoor lighting in order to facilitate the use of lighting fixtures and design criteria that minimize the causes of sky glow, light trespass, and glare, while still providing a comfortable, visually effective, energy efficient, safe, and secure outdoor environment.  It is the intent of the general assembly that the use of outdoor lighting should not interfere with the beauty and quality of the Vermont night landscape and night sky.  It is the intent of the general assembly to conserve energy without decreasing safety, utility, security, and productivity, while enhancing nighttime enjoyment of property within the state.  It is also the intent of the general assembly to minimize the intrusion of lighting across property lines, thereby avoiding disruption of the quality of life for nearby government and nongovernment buildings and grounds and for private residences, and to avoid the disruption of natural instinctive cycles of flora and fauna, particularly, but not only, within nearby natural areas.  On a pragmatic basis, it is assumed that appropriate lighting is safer and more efficient than inappropriate lighting in every case.

(b)  Definitions.  For purposes of this chapter, the following definitions apply:

(1)  “Cut-off” means outdoor light fixtures shielded or constructed so that no more than 10 percent of the total lamp lumens emitted by the installed fixture are directed at an angle greater than 80 degrees from the vertical, and no more than 2.5 percent of total lumens are directed above the horizontal plane located at the bottom of the luminaire as certified by the fixture manufacturer.

(2)  “Full cut-off” means outdoor light fixtures shielded or constructed so [DLS1] that none of the total lamp lumens emitted by the installed fixture is directed above the horizontal plane located at the bottom of the luminaire, as certified by the manufacturer.

(3)  “Semicut-off” means outdoor light fixtures shielded or constructed so that no more than 20 percent of the total lamp lumens emitted by the installed fixture is directed at an angle greater than 80 degrees from the vertical, and no more than five percent of total lumens is directed above the horizontal plane located at the bottom of the luminaire as certified by the fixture manufacturer.

(4)  “Noncut-off” means a light distribution that can produce considerable light above the horizontal plane located at the bottom of a luminaire.

(5)  “Glare” occurs when a bright source causes the eye to be drawn continually toward the bright image or when the brightness of the source prevents the viewer from adequately viewing the intended target.

(6)  “Installed” means the attachment or assembly of any outdoor lighting fixture, and its fixing in place, whether or not connected to a power source.

(7)  “Light pollution” means the upward emitting of stray light which illuminates clouds, dust, and other airborne matter, and obscures the night sky.

(8)  “Light trespass” means any artificial light falling greater than 0.01 footcandles outside the boundaries of the property upon which it is installed.  “Light trespass” occurs when neighbors of an illuminated space are affected by the lighting system’s inability to contain its light within the area intended.

(9)  “Outdoor lighting fixture” means any 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 search, spot, and floodlights at or on:

(A)  Buildings and structures.

(B)  Recreational areas.

(C)  Parking lot and area lighting.

(D)  Landscape lighting.

(E)  Outdoor signage, both internally and externally lit (advertising or other).

(F)  Street lighting.

(G)  Product display area lighting.

(H)  Building overhangs, eaves, and open and closed canopies.

(I)  Farms, dairies, or feedlots.

(J)  Gas canopy lighting.

(10)  “Sky glow,” the result of scattered light in the atmosphere above urban areas, means the haze or glow of light that currently surrounds populated areas and reduces the ability to view the nighttime sky.

(c)  Advisory board.  There is created an outdoor lighting advisory board to consist of representatives of the following interests, as appointed by the governor:  the regional planning commissions as recommended by the Vermont association of planning and development agencies; municipal planners as recommended by the Vermont planners’ association; an elected municipal official as recommended by the Vermont League of Cities and Towns; utilities by a representative from the state’s energy efficiency utility and a second representative recommended jointly by Vermont electricity providers; light manufacturers; designers and architects as recommended by the Vermont chapter of the American Institute of Architects; astronomers as recommended by the Vermont astronomical society; the natural sciences and environment as recommended by the Vermont Natural Resources Council; two representatives of commercial property owners; outdoor recreation facility owners and operators as recommended jointly by the Vermont Chamber of Commerce and Vermont businesses for social responsibility; and consumers by the Vermont Public Interest Research Group.  The board shall include one member of the house of representatives, appointed by the speaker, and one member of the senate, appointed by the committee on committees.  The board shall include representatives of the environmental board, the agency of transportation, the department of state buildings, the department of public service, the department of labor and industry, the agency of commerce and community development, the department of public safety, and the agency of natural resources.  The board shall be entitled to staff services of the agency of natural resources, as well as assistance from the department of public service.

(d)  Outdoor lighting guidelines.  By no later than June 30, 2004, the board shall develop and make available performance-based, outdoor lighting guidelines, in a format that will be informative to the general public and usable by municipalities, regional planning commissions, architects and designers, commercial interests, and the general public. The guidelines shall be updated as necessary, but no less frequently than every three years.

(1)  With respect to minimizing sky glow, or light pollution, in developing the guidelines, the board shall consider provisions that would encourage:

(A)  Turning off noncritical lighting after business hours and at other times when it is not required.

(B)  Limitations on the use of outdoor lighting fixtures that are noncut-off and those that are not cut-off, full cut-off, or semicut-off.

(C)  Use of outdoor lighting fixtures that emit little to no light above the horizontal plane.

(D)  Use of shielding that minimizes the extent to which light passes above horizontal, when fixtures need to be tilted or aimed.

(E)  Providing uniform and appropriate lighting in parking lots.

(2)  With respect to minimizing light trespass, in developing the guidelines, the board shall consider provisions that would encourage:

(A)  The careful selection of lamp wattage and outdoor lighting fixture type and placement, together with appropriate reflector selection.

(B)  The aiming and shielding of outdoor light fixtures, so as to keep the projection of the light within the property boundaries.

(3)  With respect to minimizing glare, the board shall consider provisions that would encourage:

(A)  Use of cut-off light fixtures as well as louvers and exterior visors to help prevent the direct image of a bright source.

(B)  Use of quality prismatic or opaque lens materials to spread the bright image over a larger area and reduce the brightness of the source.

(C)  Appropriate mounting heights of necessary floodlights, so as to reduce glare in an unintended field of view and with a total effect that conforms to reasonable ambient lighting levels, based on the environment of the proposed installation. 

(4)  The guidelines shall acknowledge different needs for urban, suburban, and rural communities and for different land uses; shall be adaptable to various situations so as to avoid creating a minimum standard that is counterproductive; and shall focus initially on commercial properties, convenience stores with gas canopies, parking lots, roadways, and signage.

(5)  The guidelines shall consider energy conservation provisions that would set maximum footcandle levels or standards for a range of outdoor lighting applications and locations.

(e)  Outreach.  The board shall take appropriate measures to inform the general public of the legislative purpose of this section and of the guidelines developed under this section.  As part of this effort, the board shall work with planners, the electricians’ licensing board, the board of professional engineering, and the board of architecture to:

(1)  assure that practitioners of these professions have a knowledge of the legislative purpose of this section, and of the guidelines developed under this section; and

(2)  encourage these practitioners to impart that knowledge to their customers in a manner that encourages consumer choices that are consistent with the guidelines developed under this section.

(f)  Assessment.  No less frequently than every three years, the board shall assess progress made within the state in bringing existing outdoor lighting into conformance with the purposes of this section and the guidelines developed under this section, and in encouraging new development to conform to the purposes of this section and the guidelines developed under this section.

(g)  State and municipal installations.  State-owned and state‑funded and municipal-owned and municipal-funded outdoor lighting installations, as well as those leased by the state, shall be constructed, maintained, and operated in a manner consistent with the outdoor lighting guidelines created under this section.  The department of buildings and general services shall conduct a program for the upgrading of outdoor lighting fixtures, as required in order to be consistent with the guidelines created under this section.

(h)  Public utilities.  If public utilities are required by the state or any municipality to accelerate replacement of outdoor lighting fixtures, the public service board should consider allowing recovery for the costs of replacement in rates approved by the board.

§ 592.  PRODUCT BAN AND PHASE OUT

(a)  Effective July 1, 2003, outdoor lighting fixtures for unshielded luminaires of 30,000 lumens or more shall not be offered for retail sale or for promotional purposes in the state.

(b)  Effective July 1, 2005, outdoor lighting fixtures banned by subsection (a) of this section shall not be newly installed within the state.

(c)  Effective July 1, 2008, outdoor lighting fixtures banned by subsection (a) of this section, if already installed, shall be removed and shall no longer be used within the state.

Sec. 2.  24 V.S.A. § 2291 is amended to read:

§ 2291.  ENUMERATION OF POWERS

For the purpose of promoting the public health, safety, welfare, and convenience, a town, city, or incorporated village shall have the following powers:

* * *

(22)  To manage outdoor lighting installations in a manner that will limit illumination levels, prevent glare, reduce light pollution, prevent light trespass, and promote energy efficiency.

Sec. 3.  24 V.S.A. § 4302(c) is amended to read:

(c)  In addition, this chapter shall be used to further the following specific goals:

* * *

(13)  To encourage the use of appropriately designed, outdoor lighting installations, if outdoor lighting is necessary, in order to limit illumination levels, prevent glare, reduce light pollution, prevent light trespass, and promote energy efficiency.

Sec. 4.  24 V.S.A. § 4407 is amended to read:

§ 4407.  PERMITTED TYPES OF REGULATIONS

Any municipality may adopt zoning regulations that may include, but shall not be limited to, any of the following provisions:

* * *

(21)  Regulation of outdoor lighting installations.  Zoning regulations may include provisions governing outdoor lighting installations, in situations in which outdoor lighting is necessary, in order to limit illumination levels, prevent glare, reduce light pollution, prevent light trespass, and promote energy efficiency.

Sec. 5.  24 V.S.A. § 4413(d) is added to read:

(d)  Subdivision regulations may include provisions governing outdoor lighting installations, in situations in which outdoor lighting is necessary, in order to limit illumination levels, prevent glare, reduce light pollution, prevent light trespass, and promote energy efficiency.


 [DLS1]This and all definitions below need to be defined in accordance with the definitions of IESNA, but presented in simplified language for the municipal audience. 



Published by:

The Vermont General Assembly
115 State Street
Montpelier, Vermont


www.leg.state.vt.us