City Council Meeting - FINAL

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Meeting Date: 10/04/2022  
From: Tiffany Antol, Senior Planner

Discussion regarding Case No. PZ-19-00248: City’s proposed amendment to the Zoning Code to modify the existing Outdoor Lighting Standards (Division 10-50.070).
Receive direction from Council regarding any recommended modifications or considerations on the proposed Outdoor Lighting Standards Zoning Code Text Amendment.
The purpose of the work session is for staff to present an overview of the proposed Zoning Code Amendment and allow interested individuals, residents, and business owners to provide comments.  The work session also allows the City Council to ask questions, seek clarification, have discussions, and offer comments on the proposed amendment. No formal recommendation or action by the City Council is to occur at the work session.  Additional opportunities for discussion, public comment, and action will occur at a future public hearing.
The purpose of Division 10-50.70: Outdoor Lighting Standards is to help assure that dark skies remain a resource to be enjoyed by the Flagstaff community and its visitors, minimize light pollution and light trespass across property lines, maintain an environment that the City’s astronomical industry depends upon, reduce energy consumptions, minimize the potential disruption to nocturnal ecosystems, and to allow safe and efficient outdoor lighting. The City was recognized as the world’s first International Dark Sky City on October 24, 2001, for its pioneering development and implementation of lighting codes that balance the need to preserve Flagstaff’s dark sky resource with the need for safe outdoor lighting practices. 

In 2019, a Joint Land Use Study (JLUS) was completed for Coconino County.  The JLUS is a cooperative land use planning effort between local governments and military installations.  Its goal is to ensure the lasting compatibility of military installations and their nearby communities.  There are two U.S. Naval Observatory Sites in the Flagstaff Region which rely on dark sky conditions to conduct their missions. The JLUS contains specific implementation strategies for the City of Flagstaff.  These strategies focus on updating the Zoning Code to remove Lighting Zone 3 as well as modernize measurement of absolute lumens to account for the increasing use of LED lighting.  A working group was formed in late 2019 to begin working on revisions to the Outdoor Lighting Standards as suggested by the JLUS.

The proposed amendment (Attachment 1) includes multiple changes to the Zoning Code.  New provisions are being added, and several existing regulations are being deleted or modified.  The most significant of the modifications include:
  • Removing Lighting Zone 3;
  • Modifying standards to accommodate LED light sources;
  • Adjusting allowed lumens to accommodate LED light sources;
  • Modifying the definition for Narrow Spectrum Amber LED;
The proposed amendment includes:

Purpose (Section 10-50.70.010):
  • The purpose has been updated and shorten to focus on the primary intent of the standards.
Compliance with the Zoning Code and Permit Requirements (Section 10-50.70.020):
  • This section has been completely revised to provide detailed language about permitting requirements.
Applicability (10-50.70.030):
  • The requirements in this section have been streamlined and reorganized with minimal substantive changes.
Establishment of Lighting Zones (10-50.70.040):
  • The primary change is converting three lighting zones to two lighting zones as well as providing written descriptions of the lighting zones instead of relying solely on the Lighting Zone map.
 General Requirements – All Lighting Zones (10-50.70.050)
  • The requirements in this section have been streamlined and reorganized with minimal substantive changes.
  • The Maximum Total Outdoor Light Output Standards has been replaced and updated to include the absolute lumens for LEDs.  The previous table included a footnote with a multiplier to be used for LEDs.  That footnote is removed, and the total lumens are adjusted based on that multiplier since the majority of lights used today are LED.
  • Shielding Standards table is replaced to reflect current table design in the rest of the code and to remove Lighting Zone 3.
  • Remainder of modifications fall under the 1st bullet.
Special Uses (10-50.70.060)
  • Add new provisions for building lights located under canopies, building overhands and roof eaves.  This provides an incentive to reduce the lumens counted towards the further under a building features the lighting fixture is located.  This has always been common practice for gas canopies but is not extended to other buildings. 
Exceptions (10-50-70.080)
  • Minor changes to the airport lighting section – to be specific that this provision does not apply to private helipads or landing strips.
  • Clarifications to holiday lighting.
Residential Exemptions (10-20.60.040)
  • This section clarifies that when a legal nonconforming residence is rebuilt it must still comply with these standards.

Definitions “F” (10-80.20.060):
  • Correction to existing definition
Definitions “L” (10-80.20.120):
  • Revises the definition of Narrow Spectrum Amber LED (NSLED) to have a peak wavelength between 589 and 595.
Definitions “O” (10-80.20.150):
  • Replaces the definition of Total Outdoor Light Output
Draft Outdoor Lighting Standards
Narrative and Regional Plan Analysis
Public Participation Plan


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