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H.28

Introduced by: Representatives Kiss of Burlington, Aswad of Burlington, Bohi of Hartford, Botzow of Pownal, Brennan of Colchester, Brooks of Montpelier, Deen of Westminster, Donovan of Burlington, Dowland of Holland, Edwards of Brattleboro, Fallar of Tinmouth, Fisher of Lincoln, Gervais of Enosburg, Haas of Rochester, Jewett of Ripton, Johnson of South Hero, Johnson of Canaan, Keenan of St. Albans City, Kitzmiller of Montpelier, Klein of East Montpelier, Krawczyk of Bennington, Kupersmith of South Burlington, Larson of Burlington, Lippert of Hinesburg, Maier of Middlebury, Marek of Newfane, Masland of Thetford, McCullough of Williston, McLaughlin of Royalton, Nitka of Ludlow, Nuovo of Middlebury, Otterman of Topsham, Peterson of Williston, Randall of Troy, Schiavone of Shelburne, Seibert of Norwich, Shand of Weathersfield, Sharpe of Bristol, Smith of Morristown, Winters of Williamstown and Zuckerman of Burlington

Referred to Committee on

Date:

Subject:  Conservation; outdoor lighting guidelines; municipal planning

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 allow reasonable 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 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 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.  Appropriate lighting is an energy conservation practice that will save energy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

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

(1)  “Candela” is the unit that describes the intensity of a light source in a specified direction, and is equal to one lumen per steradian (lm/sr).

(2)  “Cutoff” means a luminaire light distribution where the candela per 1,000 lamp lumens does not numerically exceed 25 (2.5 percent) at an angle of 90 degrees above nadir, and 100 (10 percent) at a vertical angle of 80 degrees above nadir.

(3)  “Efficacy” is a measurement of the ratio of light produced by a light source to the electrical power used to produce that light, expressed in lumens per watt.

(4)  “Full cutoff” means a luminaire light distribution where zero candela intensity occurs at an angle of 90 degrees above nadir, and at all greater angles from nadir.  Additionally, the candela per 1,000 lamp lumens does not numerically exceed 100 (10 percent) at a vertical angle of 80 degrees above nadir.

(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)  “Installation” 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  may illuminate clouds, dust, and other airborne matter, and may obscure the night sky.

(8)  “Light trespass” means any artificial light greater than 0.10 footcandles falling outside the boundaries of the property upon which the outdoor luminaire 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)  “Lumen” means the unit of measurement of the quantity of light produced by a lamp or emitted from a luminaire.

(10)  “Luminaire” means a complete lighting unit, often referred to as a light fixture.  A luminaire consists of the lamp or light source, optical reflector and housing, and electrical components for safely starting and operating the lamp or light source.

(11)  “Nadir” means the point directly below the luminaire. 

(12)  “Noncutoff” means a luminaire light distribution where there is no candela limitation in the zone above maximum candela.

(13)  “Outdoor lighting fixture (or luminaire)” means any outdoor electrically powered luminaire, permanently installed or portable, used for illumination, decoration, or advertisement.  Such devices shall include general ambient lighting, street and area luminaires, decorative lighting, accent or feature lighting, as well as searchlights, spotlights, and floodlights, any of which being for use 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.

(K)  Outdoor walkways.

(14)  “Semicutoff” means a luminaire light distribution where the candela per 1,000 lamp lumens does not numerically exceed 50 (five percent) at an angle of 90 degrees above nadir, and 200 (20 percent) at a vertical angle of 80 degrees above nadir.

(15)  “Sky glow” means 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 a 14‑member legislative outdoor lighting advisory board to consist of representatives of the following interests, as recommended under this subsection and as appointed by the governor:  one representative of the regional planning commissions as recommended by the Vermont Association of Planning and Development Agencies; one municipal planner as recommended by the Vermont Planners’ Association; one representative of the Vermont Energy Investment Corporation (VEIC) as recommended by the VEIC; one representative of the utility industry in a single recommendation from the state’s municipal and private utility companies; one Vermont representative of outdoor lighting manufacturers or outdoor lighting engineers as recommended by the Vermont section of the American Society of Civil Engineers; one astronomer as recommended by the Vermont Astronomical Society; one representative of the natural sciences and environment as recommended by the Vermont Natural Resources Council; one commercial property owner and one outdoor recreation facility owner or operator as recommended jointly by the Vermont Chamber of Commerce and Vermont Businesses for Social Responsibility; one municipal official as recommended by the Vermont League of Cities and Towns; one professional Vermont outdoor light designer or architect who has substantial experience in outdoor lighting applications and who is determined well‑qualified within the profession as recommended by the Vermont Chapter of the American Institute of Architects (AIA); and one landscape architect recommended by the Vermont Association of Landscape Architects.  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 be convened by the legislative members, shall be administratively staffed by the legislative council, and shall be entitled to the support of the environmental board, the agency of transportation, the department of buildings and general services, 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.

(d)  Outdoor lighting guidelines.  By no later than June 30, 2006, 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.  In developing the guidelines, the board shall consider the recommendations and national standards of the Illuminating Engineering Society of North America (IESNA), the International Dark Sky Association (IDA), and the International CPTED (Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design) Association and shall consider luminaires that are full cutoff luminaires or luminaires that are constructed so that no more than two percent to the total luminaire lumens in the zone of 90 degrees to 180 degrees vertical angle is permitted if the related output of the luminaire is greater than 3,200 lumens.  The guidelines shall be updated as necessary, but no less frequently than every three years.

(1)  In developing the guidelines with respect to minimizing sky glow, light pollution, or energy waste, the board shall consider provisions that would encourage:

(A)  An evaluation of the need for lighting at all.

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

(C)  Limitations on the use of noncutoff and semicutoff light fixtures.

(D)  Use of outdoor lighting fixtures that emit no more than two percent of light above the horizontal plane.

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

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

(2)  In developing the guidelines with respect to minimizing light trespass, 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 full 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 translucent 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 and shall encourage the use of high efficiency lamp and control technologies.  The guidelines shall encourage lamp technologies with high efficacy.

(6)  The guidelines shall consider all of the following:

(A)  Significant safety or security concerns.

(B)  Historic or residential streets that require special product aesthetics or vertical illuminance criteria, for example, to limit the lamp lumens or wattage to control glare and light trespass.

(C)  Temporary lighting used for emergency or nighttime work.

(D)  Lighting used solely to enhance the beauty of an object.

(E)  Special public events.

(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, the board of architecture, public and private utility companies, and any others responsible for designing and installing outdoor lighting 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 state-funded installations.  State-owned and state‑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.  The outdoor lighting advisory board should recommend a timeline for a program of upgrading state buildings and state-funded buildings.

(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 shall allow reasonable recovery for the costs of replacement in rates approved by the board.

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:

* * *

(23)  To manage outdoor lighting design and installations in a manner that will limit illumination levels, prevent glare, reduce light pollution, prevent light trespass, and promote energy efficiency, giving due consideration to the guidelines established by the outdoor lighting advisory board created under 10 V.S.A. chapter 24.


Sec. 3.  24 V.S.A. § 4414 is amended to read:

§ 4414.  ZONING; PERMISSIBLE TYPES OF REGULATIONS

Any of the following types of regulations may be adopted by a municipality in its bylaws in conformance with the plan and for the purposes established in section 4302 of this title.

* * *

(13)  Regulation of outdoor lighting design and installations.  A municipality may adopt bylaws that include provisions governing outdoor lighting design and 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, giving due consideration to the guidelines established by the outdoor lighting advisory board created under 10 V.S.A. chapter 24.

Sec. 4.  24 V.S.A. § 4418(2) is amended to read:

(2)  Subdivision bylaws may include:

* * *

(E)  Provisions governing outdoor lighting design and 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, giving due consideration to the guidelines established by the outdoor lighting advisory board created under 10 V.S.A. chapter 24.




Published by:

The Vermont General Assembly
115 State Street
Montpelier, Vermont


www.leg.state.vt.us