Village of East Aurora, NY
Erie County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Board of Trustees of the Village of East Aurora 1-28-2008 by L.L. No. 1-2008.[1] Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Historic preservation — See Ch. 156.
Signs — See Ch. 209.
Zoning — See Ch. 285.
165a Lumen Table
[1]
Editor's Note: This local law also repealed former Ch. 165, Outdoor Lighting, adopted 6-13-1988 by L.L. No. 4-1988 (Ch. 69, Sec. 69-10, of the 1972 Code), as amended.
Except as provided in Chapter 209, Signs, of this Code, the following shall apply in any of the following zoning districts; to wit: R, R-G-N, R-G, R-C, C, C-M, M-I and M-P Zoning Districts.
A. 
The general purpose of this chapter is to protect and promote the public health, safety and welfare, the quality of life, the Village's unique character, and the ability to view the night sky by establishing regulations and a process for review of exterior lighting.
B. 
This chapter establishes standards for exterior lighting in order to accomplish the following:
(1) 
To provide safe roadways for motorists, cyclists and pedestrians.
(2) 
To reduce overall energy consumption and eliminate unneeded and excessive lighting.
(3) 
To ensure that sufficient lighting can be provided where needed to promote safety and security.
(4) 
To prevent light trespass and light pollution in all areas of the Village.
(5) 
To protect and reclaim the ability to view the night sky by reducing sky glow.
(6) 
To regulate the type of light fixtures, lamps and additional lighting hardware.
Unless specifically defined below, words or phrases used in this chapter shall be interpreted so as to give them the meaning they have in common usage and to give this chapter its most reasonable application.
AREA LIGHT
A luminaire designed for illumination of a broad area. Area lights include, but are not limited to, streetlights, parking lot lights and yard lights over 1,800 lumens.
CANOPY
Any roof or overhang open on the sides and supported by columns, posts or other supports and used primarily for the protection of persons, vehicles, electronic or mechanical equipment from direct exposure to rain, snow or other weather-related conditions.
ESSENTIAL LIGHTING
Light that is used for a specified period of time, which is necessary for location identification or public circulation purposes.
EXCESSIVE LIGHTING
Brightness levels beyond that which are required for safety, location or identification and illuminate areas beyond those intended.
EXTERIOR LIGHTING
Temporary or permanent lighting equipment that is installed, located or used in such a manner as to cause light rays to shine outdoors.
FIXTURE
The bulb and the assembly that holds the bulb (or lamp) in a lighting system, including reflecting elements, shielding elements, cover glass or lenses, the ballast, and the housing.
FLOODLIGHT
A lamp or luminaire intended to light a large area and which can produce light above the luminaire.
FULL CUTOFF (FCO)
A classification for a luminaire designed and installed where no light is emitted at or above a horizontal plane running through the lowest point on the luminaire. In addition, the luminous intensity (as measured in candelas) emitted at any angle from 80° up to 90° cannot exceed a numerical value equal to 10% of the lumen rating of the lamp, as reported in a photometric report from the manufacturer. A cutoff or semi-cutoff design allows a restricted amount of light emitted above the horizontal, and a noncutoff provides no restriction against light emitted above the horizontal.
FULLY SHIELDED
A luminaire constructed and installed in such a manner that all light emitted by it, either directly from the lamp or a diffusing element, or indirectly by reflection or refraction from any part of the luminaire, is projected below the horizontal. It is the same as a full cutoff luminaire but without any restrictions on light distribution below the horizontal plane.
GLARE
The sensation produced by a bright source within the visual field that is sufficiently brighter than the level to which the eyes are adapted, which can cause annoyance, discomfort, or loss in visual performance and visibility. The magnitude of glare depends on such factors as the size, position, brightness of the source, and on the brightness level to which the eyes are adapted.
HIGH-PRESSURE SODIUM (HPS)
Light produced from an electrical current flowing through sodium gas within a tube. The light produced is an orange-gold color.
ILLUMINANCE
The density of light falling on any point of a surface, usually measured in footcandles in the United States.
IESNA or ILLUMINATING ENGINEERING SOCIETY OF NORTH AMERICA (IES or IESNA)
An organization that establishes updated standards and illumination guidelines for the lighting industry.
IESNA-RECOMMENDED PRACTICES
The most current publications of the IESNA setting forth luminance levels for different task areas, e.g., walkways, streets, sports lights, etc.
LAMP
The generic term for an artificial light source, to be distinguished from the whole assembly (see "fixture"); commonly referred to as the "light bulb."
LANDSCAPE LIGHTING
Lighting aimed into landscaping that accentuates a garden design concept, pathway or walkway.
LIGHT
The filament; the source of visual radiant energy; the form of radiant energy acting on the retina of the eye to make sight possible.
LIGHTING ASSEMBLY
Any or all parts of a luminaire that function to produce light, including the bulb, assembly, ballast, mounting features and/or pole.
LIGHT POLLUTION
Any adverse effect of man-made light, including but not limited to glare, light trespass, sky glow, visual clutter, wasted energy due to excessive or unnecessary lighting, or any man-made light that unnecessarily diminishes the ability to view the night sky or is disruptive to flora and fauna.
LIGHT TRESPASS
Light projected onto the property of another or into the public right-of-way when it is not required, wanted or permitted to do so.
LOW-PRESSURE SODIUM (LPS)
Light produced from an electrical current flowing through sodium gas within a tube. The light produced is an orange-gold color; more light-efficient than high-pressure sodium.
LUMEN
A unit used to measure the actual amount of light that is produced by a bulb. The lumen quantifies the amount of light energy produced by a lamp at the lamp, not by the energy input, which is indicated by the wattage. For example, a seventy-five-watt incandescent lamp can produce 1,000 lumens, while a seventy-watt high-pressure sodium lamp produces 6,000 lumens. Lumen output is listed by the manufacturer on the packaging.
LUMINAIRE
The complete lighting assembly (including the lamp, housing, ballasts, photocells, reflectors, lenses and shields), less the support assembly (pole or mounting bracket); a light fixture. For purposes of determining total light output from a luminaire or light fixture, lighting assemblies which include multiple unshielded or partially shielded lamps on a single pole or standard shall be considered as a single unit.
LUMINANCE
The brightness of a source of light.
MAINTAINED ILLUMINANCE
The light levels that are produced by a lamp and luminaire after a period of time, taking the normal losses due to lamp aging and fixture dirt accumulation into account. This can be measured at any point in time, but is often defined at 40% of lamp life.
MOUNTING HEIGHT
The distance from level ground to the lowest light-emitting part of the luminaire.
MERCURY VAPOR (MV)
Lamps that are quartz tubes filled with mercury gas under pressure. Light is produced when an electrical current passes through the mercury vapor.
METAL HALIDE (MH)
Lamps that produce light when an electrical current flows through a gas within a lamp envelope; most efficient of the “white light” sources; twice as efficient as mercury lamps.
NET ACRE
The horizontal acreage of a lot devoted to commercial, residential or public uses consisting of any 43,560 contiguous square feet or any total of portions thereof within the same parcel if partitioned or dissected by existing other property or roads.
NONESSENTIAL LIGHTING
Lighting for an intended purpose when that intended purpose is not taking place.
PARTIALLY SHIELDED
A luminaire which incorporates a partial shield around the lamp, concealing the lamp from view only in certain directions.
PHOTOMETRICS
Technical test reports that indicate light distribution and performance from a luminaire. Photometric reports may include candlepower distribution data, cutoff classifications, isofootcandle charts, etc. These are generally available from the luminaire manufacturers.
SKYGLOW
The overhead glow from light emitted sideways and upwards, including light reflected upward from the ground or other surfaces.
TEMPORARY LIGHTING
Lighting that is intended to be used for a special event for a specified period.
UPLIGHTING
Lighting that is directed in such a manner as to shine light above the horizontal plane.
VISUAL CLUTTER
Multiple representations of objects in our visual field which compete with each other for our brain's limited visual processing capacity, mutually canceling each other out and suppressing the brain's responsiveness.
A. 
All outdoor lighting installed in the Village shall be in conformance with the requirements established by this chapter.
B. 
The maximum allowable total initial lumens generated on each parcel of land are 60,000 lumens per net acre with full-cutoff lighting. Parcels less than one net acre are allowed full-cutoff lumens in a portion equal to the parcel's portion of a net acre.
C. 
Lighting shall be shielded to eliminate light pollution and light trespass.
D. 
No light shall be emitted above the light source horizontally. Lights shall be recessed so that the lens cover or light source is recessed or flush with the bottom surface of the fixture and shielded by the fixture so that light is restrained to 80° or less from vertical.
E. 
Exterior lighting shall include timers, dimmers, sensors, photocell controllers or other light-control devices that turn the lights off during daylight hours and nighttime hours as defined in § 165-9A, when lighting is not needed, to reduce overall energy consumption and eliminate unneeded lighting. In multistructure developments or structures with more than one occupant, lighting control devices shall maintain only those lights on the individual structures related to the individual occupant. Lighting control devices for parking lot lighting shall be separate from the structures' lighting control and shall be designed to control lighting in specific areas as needed for safety to individual occupants.
F. 
Replaceable light assemblies and fixtures shall be replaced as needed to maintain their approved original or required lighting level and/or color.
G. 
Lighting fixtures shall not produce glare for drivers, pedestrians, or local property owners and shall be aimed or shielded as required by this chapter.
Streetlights shall be full cutoff high-pressure sodium, low-pressure sodium, metal halide, or fluorescent, unless otherwise determined that another type is more efficient which meets the requirements of this chapter. Streetlights along residential streets shall not exceed seventy-watt high-pressure sodium (hps) light with a lumen output of 6,400. Streetlights along nonresidential streets or at intersections shall not exceed 100 watts hps each, with a lumen output of 9,500, except the lights at major intersections on state highways shall not exceed 150 watts hps, with a lumen output of 16,000. If a light type other than high-pressure sodium is permitted, then the equivalent output in lumens shall be the limit for that light type.
Temporary outdoor lighting for special events may be permitted in conjunction with an application for a special use permit. The applicant must present to the Village Board the following consideration:
A. 
The public and/or private benefits that will result from the temporary lighting.
B. 
Any potential annoyance or safety problems that might result from the use of the temporary lighting.
C. 
The duration of temporary lighting.
D. 
The power source of the temporary lighting.
No person shall maintain or install any of the following types of outdoor lighting fixtures:
A. 
Unshielded mercury vapor lamps. On new installations, mercury vapor lighting is not recommended.
B. 
Neon and laser light. Blinking, flashing, moving, revolving, flickering, changing intensity or color, and chase lighting, except lighting for temporary seasonal displays, lighting for public safety or required for air traffic safety.
C. 
Any light fixture that may be confused with or construed as a traffic control device.
D. 
Any upward-oriented lighting above 80° from the vertical, except as otherwise provided for in § 165-10E.
E. 
Searchlights, beacons, and laser-source light fixtures.
A. 
All exterior luminaires installed, replaced, or repaired after the effective date of this chapter, considered new lighting, shall conform to the standards established by this chapter.
B. 
Existing lighting in conflict with this chapter shall be classified as "nonconforming." All lighting existing or installed prior to the date of the adoption of this chapter which does not conform with the provisions of the chapter shall be exempt under the following conditions:
(1) 
Nonconforming lighting can be ordered removed or brought into conformance with this chapter.
(2) 
On the effective date of the chapter, any lighting installation which would comply by reaiming and/or shielding of the fixture shall be brought in compliance with the requirements of this chapter.
C. 
Upon adoption of the chapter, in the event of the replacement of any nonconforming luminaire, or relocation of such luminaire, that luminaire shall be brought into compliance with the provisions of this chapter.
The following standards apply to commercial outdoor lighting:
A. 
Commercial outdoor lighting shall not be illuminated during daylight hours and between 1/2 hour after sunset and 1/2 hour before sunrise, with the following exceptions:
(1) 
In the case of a business open to customers, or where employees are working or where an institution or place of public assembly is conducting an activity, it is recommended that normal illumination necessary for conducting that activity shall be allowed for no more than one hour after the activity ceases. It is also recommended that all nonessential commercial exterior lighting shall be turned off within one hour after the close of business and/or when not in use. Lights controlled by photocells and timers are required, as is the use of sensor-activated lights necessary for safety purposes.
(2) 
Low-level lighting sufficient for direct building security may be operated between 1/2 hour after sunset and 1/2 hour before sunrise, provided the illumination is mounted on the building wall, shielded to prevent light trespass and light pollution, and the light output is no greater than 1,800 lumens.
(3) 
Lighting may be used during daylight hours if required for safety due to low-level daylight caused by weather conditions such as heavy rain or snow.
B. 
All area lights shall be full cutoff luminaires.
C. 
Automatic teller machine (ATM) and other bank lighting shall be full cutoff and shall not cause glare or light trespass.
D. 
Unshielded wall packs and unshielded floodlights are not permitted.
All exterior lighting shall use full cutoff luminaires, as determined by a photometry test or certified by the manufacturer, with the light source directed downward and with the fixture level with the horizontal plane, with the following exceptions:
A. 
Unshielded luminaires equal to, or less than, 890 lumens are allowed, provided the luminaire has an opaque top or is under an opaque structure and light trespass limitations are met. (See lumen table in Appendix[1].)
[1]
Editor's Note: The lumen table is located at the end of this chapter.
B. 
Area lighting of greater than 1,800 lumens is permitted if angled downward such that the light is not directed above a forty-five-degree angle measured from the vertical line from the center of the light to the ground, and only if the luminaire does not cause glare, light trespass or light pollution and beam spread is not beyond the intended target or across property lines. Photocells and/or operable timers that cause the luminaire to go on at dusk and off by 11:00 p.m., or one hour after the close of business in commercial applications, as well as motion-sensor-activated lights are required.
C. 
Sensor-activated luminaires:
(1) 
The luminaire is operated and located in such a manner, or shielded, to prevent glare, light trespass and light pollution.
(2) 
The luminaire is set to only go on when activated and to go off within five minutes after activation has ceased.
(3) 
The sensor shall not be triggered by activity off the property, including passing vehicles on public highways, and/or pedestrians using public sidewalks.
D. 
Vehicular lights and all temporary emergency lighting needed by fire, ambulance, and police departments, or other emergency services, are exempt.
E. 
In situations of lighted vertical objects which are not illuminated with downward lighting, upward lighting may be used in the form of a narrow cone spotlight which confines the illumination to the object and meets light trespass and light pollution requirements.
F. 
Lighting of radio, communications and navigation towers, provided the owner demonstrates that the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) regulations can only be met through the use of lighting that does not comply with this chapter.
G. 
New or replacement "historic" municipal streetlights; e.g., if the luminaire is an historic or decorative luminaire which is part of a continuous lighting design on a primary street where the piecemeal replacement of the luminaire with compliant luminaires would unacceptably degrade the aesthetic characteristics of the existing lighting design. Compliant spacing is recommended. Top-shielded lighting is required.
A. 
No luminaires shall be taller than 20 feet from the ground to their tallest point.
B. 
Poles shall be located outside of vehicle circulation areas and off-street parking spaces. In no case shall a pole encroach more than one foot in any required parking space. Poles shall not interfere with any vehicle door opening or movement.
C. 
Luminaires for municipal streetlights and playing fields shall be exempt from the height restriction, provided all other provisions of this chapter are met.
D. 
No commercial, institutional, government and utility lighting, existing and/or new, shall cause light trespass and light pollution.
E. 
Freestanding luminaires on private property used for commercial purposes and adjacent to residential property shall be mounted at a height equal to or less than the sum of H = (D/3) + 3, where D is the distance in feet to the nearest property boundary, but shall not be higher than 20 feet from ground level to the top of the luminaire, whichever is less. Example:
Pole Height
(feet)
Distance to Property Line
(feet)
Calculation
20
51 
51/3 = 17 + 3 = 20
12
27
27/3 = 9 + 3 = 12
9
18
18/3 = 6 + 3 = 9
Privately owned or leased light fixtures located on public utility poles or located in the public right-of-way are prohibited.
A. 
Canopy lights, such as service station lighting or parking lot lighting, shall be fully recessed or fully shielded to prevent glare and light trespass. All light emitted by an undercanopy fixture(s) shall be substantially confined to the ground surface directly beneath the perimeter of the canopy. Indirect canopy lighting may be used where light is beamed upward and reflected down from the underside of the canopy. When this method is used, light fixtures must be shielded so that direct illumination is focused exclusively on the underside of the canopy and is not visible from the ground.
B. 
Lights installed into canopies or into roof overhangs have a reduced impact on uplighting compared to lights mounted on poles since the canopy or overhang prevents some of the light reflecting off the ground from reaching the sky. Because of this effect, such lighting counts less toward the lumen-per-acre limits except as noted below.
(1) 
All luminaires mounted on the under surface of the canopy or overhang shall be recessed and fully shielded and utilize flat glass or flat plastic (acrylic or polycarbonate) lenses or covers.
(2) 
Lamps zero to five feet from the edge of the canopy or overhang count fully toward the total lumens per net acre.
(3) 
Lamps five feet to 10 feet from the edge of the canopy or overhang count 1/3 toward the total lumens per net acre.
(4) 
Lamps 10 feet or greater from the edge of the canopy or overhang count 1/5 toward the total lumens per net acre.
C. 
This section applies only to luminaires installed into the bottom horizontal surface of the canopy or overhang and does not apply to luminaires installed under the canopy or overhang and mounted to a column, support, wall or other surface.
A. 
Illuminated signs must also meet all the requirements of Chapter 209, Signs.
B. 
Sign lighting shall be shielded to prevent glare onto adjacent public rights-of-way and adjacent private properties. Sign lighting shall be directed so that the light does not stray above the light source horizontally. Light shall be steady and even over the entire sign.
C. 
All lighting fixtures and elements shall be maintained in good working condition.
D. 
Sign lighting for commercial purposes which is permanently attached to the building shall be a steady, non-flashing light not to exceed 20 watts per square foot of sign area for incandescent lighting, or 10 watts per square foot of sign area for neon, cold-cathode or fluorescent lighting (not including transformer). [See Chapter 209, § 209-7C(3).]
A. 
Strings of lights may only be used if they are intended to create pleasing pedestrian spaces, such as an outdoor dining or patio areas, utilizing low lighting levels.
B. 
Strings of lights permitted under this section shall be displayed in compliance with the following standards:
(1) 
The string of lights shall contain only low-wattage bulbs that are not greater than 50 lumens per bulb (equivalent to a seven-watt C7 incandescent bulb). Lower wattage is desirable.
(2) 
Blinking or chasing lights are not permitted.
(3) 
The string of lights shall be located within a plaza, patio, outdoor dining area, or the primary entry into a building, but not over a public pedestrian area(s).
(4) 
The string of lights shall not be placed in any required landscape setback adjacent to a street.
(5) 
The string of lights shall be displayed on a building, wall, fence, trees, and shrubs.
(6) 
The string of lights shall not suspend across any public walkway horizontally between any buildings, walls, fences, trees, or shrubs. (For the purposes of this subsection, "horizontally" means any portion of the suspended string which dips fewer than 45° below the horizontal.)
(7) 
If used in living landscape features (trees and bushes), the lights shall be attached with bands or clips which do not puncture or cause damage to the plant.
A. 
When outside lighting is proposed as part of an application for a building permit, variance, or sign permit, in conjunction with a development plan, a lighting plan shall accompany the development plan, which shall show:
(1) 
A written description, with accompanying plan, which demonstrates the objectives of the lighting.
(2) 
The location, height and type of outdoor luminaires on the development drawings.
(3) 
A photometric grid in the form of a property layout showing lumen readings within the property or site and illustrating compliance with the shielding, light trespass and other requirements of this section.
(4) 
The luminaire manufacturer’s specification data, including photographs of the fixtures, lumen output and photometric data showing cutoff angles.
(5) 
A total lumen output showing compliance with the total lumens per net acre.
(6) 
Photometric data color rendering index (CRI) of all lamps (bulbs).
(7) 
Landscaping information that indicates initial and mature tree size, shrubbery and other vegetation in order to evaluate the long-term and seasonal effectiveness of lighting or screening of lighting.
(8) 
That light trespass will not occur on adjacent property or public streets. This will be demonstrated by the manufacturer's data, cross-section drawings, or other means to confirm compliance with this section, or as requested by the Village Board and/or Planning Commission.
(9) 
Control descriptions, including type of controls (timer, motion sensor, time clock, etc.), the light fixtures to be controlled by each type, and control schedule.
B. 
No exterior lighting shall be altered, enlarged, moved, improved, or converted unless it conforms to a lighting plan approved by the Village Board.
C. 
Prior to a building permit final inspection or the issuance of a certificate of occupancy, the applicant shall conduct a post-installation inspection to verify and certify that the installed system operates as designed and shall provide certification, at the applicant's expense, that the outdoor lighting as installed complies with the approved illumination plan and the requirements of this section. The certification shall be submitted in a format prescribed by Code Enforcement. The certification shall be completed by the architect, electrical engineer, electrical contractor, or lighting consultant responsible for the plans or the final installation. Light level readings may be taken if there appears to be excessive or uneven lighting or if a complaint has been made. Any change or alteration of nonresidential exterior lighting must be approved by the Village Board and verified, post-installation, by the Code Enforcement Officer, to ensure compliance with all the provisions of this chapter.
Residential outdoor lighting shall also comply with the following:
A. 
Lighting shall be shielded or aimed to eliminate unnecessary illumination and to ensure that there shall be no glare, light pollution and light trespass onto adjacent property, and no such light shall be of such intensity as to create a nuisance or detract from the use and enjoyment of adjacent property.
B. 
No light shall be emitted above the light source horizontally. Lights shall be recessed or shielded so that the light source is not visible and the light beam is restrained to 80° or less from vertical.
C. 
Lighting shall meet the height requirements of this chapter.
A. 
The Zoning Board of Appeals, subject to such conditions as it may deem necessary in the public interest and after public notice and hearing, may vary or modify the application of this chapter when circumstances peculiar to a particular property differentiate it substantially from adjoining properties so as to permit variations in the strict application of this chapter, provided any outdoor light or lights so permitted shall not exceed in the aggregate the requirements permitted herein.
B. 
The foregoing variance powers shall not be deemed to limit the general variance powers of the Zoning Board of Appeals allowed or provided for in the Village Law of the State of New York and Chapter 285, Zoning, of the Village of East Aurora and shall be deemed in addition thereto.
C. 
In certain instances, the amount of lighting allowed under the lumen-per-acre cap may not be sufficient for an application of outdoor lighting that meets minimum illumination levels recommended by the Illuminating Engineering Society. In such cases, lighting sufficient to meet IES recommendations may be allowed, provided that properly conducted testing, reviewed by a lighting engineer approved by the Village Board, indicates such IES recommendations are not exceeded, with the fees to be reimbursed to the Village by the applicant. All other lighting conditions shall meet the requirements of this chapter.
A. 
It shall be unlawful for any person, corporation or agency to install, alter, repair, move, equip, use or maintain any lighting in violation of any of the provisions of this chapter, or to fail in any manner to comply with a notice, directive or order of the Code Enforcement Officer.
B. 
Any person who shall fail to comply with a written order of the Code Enforcement Officer within the time fixed for compliance therewith, and any owner, builder, architect, tenant, contractor, subcontractor, construction superintendent or their agents or any person taking part or assisting in the installation, alteration, repair, equipping, use or maintenance of any lighting in violation of any of the applicable provisions of this chapter or any lawful order, notice, directive, permit or certificate of the Code Enforcement Officer made hereunder shall commit a violation of this chapter. Violations of any of the provisions of this chapter shall be punishable by a fine of not more than $250 or by imprisonment for not more than 15 days, or both. Each day’s continuance of a violation after notice shall be deemed a separate and distinct violation and shall be punishable accordingly.
C. 
Any prohibited light, lights, lighting or illumination or a combination thereof, now in existence in connection with a permitted use, or granted a variance, or a valid, nonconforming use, which shall be in violation of this chapter, shall be altered, removed or replaced in conformity with this chapter. Such conformity shall be required within 120 days after notice that a nonconformity exists with regard to the provisions of this chapter.