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Town of Fountain Hills News

Posted on: February 21, 2017

[ARCHIVED] Town of Fountain Hills Dark Sky Ordinance – What Does It Mean For Residents?

In December 2016 the Fountain Hills town Council adopted a revised Lighting Ordinance, also called the “Dark Sky Ordinance” as Town Code.  To view the complete guidelines, residents may look at the Town of Fountain Hills Zoning Ordinance Chapter 8 titled OUTDOOR LIGHTING CONTROL. 

Dark Sky Fountain Hills Lighting Ordinance FAQ’s

What is a Lumen?

                A Lumen is the SI (International System of Units) unit of light output. A lumen is approximately the amount of light that falls on a one–square–foot surface one foot away from a candle flame.


What is Correlated Color Temperature (CCT)?

                CCT (Correlated Color Temperature) is a measure of light source color appearance.  In order to minimize the detrimental effects of blue light, the CCT of any outdoor lighting fixture shall not exceed 3000K.

- See Section 8.02B of the Town Zoning Ordinance.  

What is light trespassing?

                Light trespass is the spillage of light onto adjacent properties.  Outdoor lighting fixtures shall be sufficiently shielded and aimed such that light trespass is minimized and glare from the light emitting and/or reflecting parts of a luminaries is not visible from any adjacent property.   

- See Section 8.02C of the Town Zoning Ordinance.  


 What does shielding mean?

                Shielding means covering or blocking a light so that light trespass is prevented and glare is minimized.   All outdoor light fixtures with light output greater than 2250 initial lumens shall be fully shielded.   Fixtures with light output ranges from 1125 to 2250 initial lumens shall be at least partially shielded.

 - See Section 8.02A of the Town Zoning Ordinance.

Do I have to change my outdoor lighting immediately to comply with Town Code?

                No.  The Town’s lighting ordinance allows current lighting to remain in place.  However, Chapter 8 of the Town’s Zoning Ordinance requires that any new or replacement lighting meets the new standards. 

How will the ordinance effect special events in Town?

                Events that are approved through the special event permit, special use permit, temporary use permit, or administrative use permit process may include specified exemptions from this chapter for the duration of the event, but only if they satisfy the criteria set.

- See Section 8.04F of the Town Zoning Ordinance.  

How will the ordinance effect recreational facilities?

                No outdoor recreation facility, public or private, shall be illuminated after 11:00 p.m., except to conclude a specific recreational, sporting or other activity that began prior to 10:00 p.m.  Recreational facility lighting shall make appropriate use of adaptive controls when possible. 

- See Section 8.03B of the Town Zoning Ordinance.  

How will the ordinance effect holiday lighting and decorations?

                Lighting that is controlled by timers, lighting used to light the fountain or lighting used on special occasions will not be affected by the ordinance.  In section 8.02D Town ordinance states: Temporary outdoor lighting decorations are permitted for a reasonable period before a holiday and are not subject to the requirements.  Holiday lighting in residential neighborhoods shall be minimized after 11:00 p.m. and shall be removed within two weeks after the holiday. 

- See Section 8.02D of the Town Zoning Ordinance.  

Does this affect landscape lighting?

                Yes.  Any new or replaced landscape lighting must meet lumen, CCT and light trespass regulations.

- See Section 8.03C of the Town Zoning Ordinance.  


For more information please contact Marketing and Communications Coordinator at or Senior Planner Marissa Moore at

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