TOWN OF TAOS ORDINANCE 99-2
ADDING A NEW
AN ORDINANCE OF THE TOWN COUNCIL OF THE TOWN OF TAOS
CREATING A NEW CHAPTER 15.28 REGARDING OUTDOOR LIGHTING ON PUBLIC
AND PRIVATE PROPERTY.
WHEREAS, This new Ordinance will promote energy
efficiency and reduce or prevent light pollution;
WHEREAS, This Ordinance will protect a historical
legacy and provide enjoyment of the night sky of the Town of Taos
for future generations;
WHEREAS, This Ordinance follows and complements the New
Mexico Night Sky Protection Act and can be more restrictive but
not less restrictive in its implementation;
WHEREAS, The Town Council desires to provide an
Ordinance that tracts New Mexico State Statute for the
preservation and enhancement of the dark sky of the Town of Taos
while promoting safety, conservation of energy and environmental
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT ORDAINED BY THE
GOVERNING 13ODY OF THE TOWN OF TAOS, meeting in Regular Session,
and after having held a public hearing on the matter, that the
following Ordinance is hereby adopted:
CHAPTER 15.28, entitled "Outdoor Lighting on Public
and Private Property" is hereby created as part of the
Town of Taos Municipal Code.
15.28.060 General Standards
15.28.070 Further Restrictions
15.28.080 Penalties for Violations
15.28.100 Effective Date
The purpose of the Outdoor Lighting on Public and Private
Property ordinance is to regulate outdoor lighting in order
to reduce or prevent light pollution. This means to the
extent reasonably possible the reduction or prevention of
glare and light trespass, the conservation of energy, and
promotion of safety and security. This Ordinance will ensure
the aesthetically appropriate outdoor lighting in keeping
with the historic character of the Town of Taos.
15.28.020 Definitions. As used in this section:
- Lamp or Bulb means the light-producing
source installed in the socket portion of a
- Luminaire or Fixture means a complete
lighting unit including the lamps or bulbs,
together with the parts required to distribute
the light, to position and protect the lamps, and
to connect the lamps to the power supply.
- Light pollution means general sky glow
caused by the scattering of artificial light in
the atmosphere and resulting in decreased ability
to see the natural night sky.
- Glare means the brightness of a light
source that causes eye discomfort.
- Disabling glare means lighting that
impairs visibility and creates a potentially
hazardous situation for either pedestrians or
- Nuisance glare means light that creates an
annoyance or aggravation but does not create a
potentially hazardous situation.
- Light trespass means light emitted by a
luminaire that shines beyond the property on
which the luminaire is installed.
- Shielding means that no light rays are
emitted by a fixture above the horizontal plane
running through the lowest point of the fixture
where light is emitted.
- Accent lighting means any directional
lighting which emphasizes a particular object or
draws attention to a particular area.
- Spotlight or Floodlight means any lamp
that incorporates a reflector or a refractor to
concentrate the light output into a directed beam
in a particular direction.
- All outdoor lighting fixtures installed on private and
public property after the effective date of this
ordinance shall comply. This ordinance does not apply to
interior lighting. However, overly bright inside light
emitted outdoors from any structure will be subject to
control by this ordinance if it is determined by the code
administrator that it creates a nuisance glare or a
disabling glare as defined by this ordinance.
- All outdoor lighting fixtures existing and legally
installed and operative before the effective date of this
ordinance are exempt from these requirements unless they
are determined to create a nuisance glare or a disabling
glare as defined by this ordinance. When existing
lighting fixtures become inoperable, their replacements
are subject to all the provisions of the Night Sky
- When an existing fixture is replaced, the replacement
fixture shall meet the requirements of this article.
Modifications to nonconforming fixtures in historic
districts shall also comply with this article.
- Compliance with this ordinance shall be administered by
the Town of Taos Planning Department.
- In the event of a conflict with any other section of this
article, the more stringent requirement shall apply.
- All governmental agencies, federal, state or county -
including their security facilities, which operate within
the town limits of Taos - should experience no difficulty
meeting the requirements of this ordinance and are
encouraged by the Town to comply with its provisions.
The following are exempt from the provisions of this
- Traffic control signals and devices.
- Street lights installed prior to the effective date of
- Temporary emergency lighting (i.e. fire, police, repair
- Moving vehicle lights.
- Navigation lights (i.e. airports, heliports, radio/television
- Lighted signs that conform with the Town's sign ordinance.
- Seasonal decorations with individual lights in place no
longer than 60 days.
- Sports field outdoor lighting (i.e. ball fields, football,
soccer, ice rink, etc.).
- Other special situations approved by the Town for
temporary or periodic events (i.e. rodeos, revivals,
fairs, fiestas, carnivals, night-time construction).
- Covered porch lighting on single-family or multi-family
homes provided that each outdoor light fixture does not
exceed 150 watts (2220 lumens output).
- Security lights of any wattage that are controlled by a
motion-sensor switch and which do not remain on longer
than 10 to 12 minutes after activation.
- Applications for building permits or applications for
review by the Planning and Zoning Commission, or the
Historic Preservation Commission, which includes the
installation of outdoor lighting fixtures for new
construction, shall provide evidence of compliance with
the requirements of this Ordinance. The submittal shall
contain the following information and submitted as part
of the site plan to the Planning and Zoning Department
- (1) Plans indicating the location, type, and
height of luminaries including both building and
(2) A description of the luminaries, including
lamps, poles or other supports and shielding
devices, which may be provided as catalogue
illustrations from the manufacturer;
(3) Photometric data, such as that furnished by
the manufacturer, showing the angle of light
(4) Additional information as may be required by
the Planning and Zoning Department in order to
determine compliance with this Ordinance.
- Applications for single/multi-family residential or other
projects where any single outdoor light fixture not used
for landscaping or foliage illumination exceeds 150 watts
(2220 lumens output) shall be required to comply with
paragraph A above. (See section below for landscaping and
foliage illumination, item H)
15.28.060 General Standards.
The following general standards shall apply to all outdoor
lighting installed after the effective date of this ordinance,
which is not exempted above:
- Outdoor lighting must be hooded, shielded, and/or aimed
downward. Examples of acceptable and unacceptable light
pollution control shielding and hooding is shown in Table
1-4, attached herein.
- The hood or shield must mask the direct horizontal
surface of the light source. The light must be aimed to
insure that the illumination is only pointing downward
onto the ground surface, with no escaping light permitted
to contribute to sky glow by shining upward into the sky.
- Any bright light shining onto adjacent property or
streets which would result in a nuisance glare or a
disabling glare shall not be permitted. Light trespass
beyond property boundaries or above the horizontal plane
shall be considered non-compliant.
- Existing fixtures may be adapted to comply with this
ordinance by adding a properly designed hood or shield,
or by pointing any upward-mounted, shielded fixture
downward onto the ground surface.
- All outdoor lighting fixtures shall be designed,
installed, located and maintained such that nuisance
glare onto adjacent properties or streets shall be
minimized and all direct illumination kept within the
boundaries of the fixture owner's property.
- This section may be enforced on the basis of a formal
complaint filed in writing with the Planning and Zoning
- Accent lighting, when so approved, shall be directed
downward onto the building or object and not toward the
sky or onto adjacent properties. Direct light emissions
shall not be visible above the roof line or beyond the
- Spotlighting on landscaping and foliage shall be limited
to 150 watts (2220 lumens output). The lamp shall be
shielded and not create disabling or nuisance glare.
15.28.070 Further Restrictions.
The Town reserves the right to further restrict outdoor
lighting, including but not limited to searchlights for
special events, quartz lighting, laser lights, pole height,
and level of illumination, when it is deemed to be in the
best public interest in keeping with the stated purpose of
15.28.080 Penalties for violation.
- Any violation of the provisions of this ordinance shall
constitute a petty misdemeanor, and upon conviction
thereof, shall be punishable by a fine not to exceed
three hundred dollars ($300.00) or imprisonment not to
exceed ninety (90) days, or both.
- Each 24 hour period during any portion of which any
violation of this ordinance is committed or continued to
exist shall constitute a separate offense.
The provisions of this ordinance are severable and if any
paragraph, section, subsection, or part of this ordinance is
held to be invalid, unenforceable, unconstitutional, or
inapplicable to any person or circumstance, such illegality,
invalidity, unconstitutionality, or inapplicability shall not
affect or impair the remainder of this ordinance.
15.28.100 Effective date.
The provisions of this ordinance shall become effective
five (5) days after published unless otherwise provided by
ADOPTED this 18th day of May
1999 by the following vote:
Councilwoman Erlinda Gonzales - yes
Councilman Bobby Duran - yes
Councilman Meliton Struck - yes
Councilman Frank Cruz - yes
S/S FREDERICK A. PERALTA
S/S LORRAINE GALLEGOS
S/S TOMAS BENAVIDEZ
SECTION 15.28.060 TABLES
ACCEPTABLE SHIELDING , HOODING AND
AIMING OF OUTDOOR LIGHT FIXTURES
The following 4 tables of schematics
show what is acceptable and what is unacceptable in the Town of
Taos and its Extra-Territorial Zone:
TABLE 1: WALL MOUNTED LIGHTS
TABLE 2: FREE STANDING LIGHTS
TABLE 3: OFF-WALL, BUILDING, FOLIAGE,
SIGN AND ESCARPMENT LIGHTS
TABLE 4: STREET AND LOT LIGHT CUT-OFF AT
Town of Taos
Notice of Adoption
TAKE NOTICE THAT, on Tuesday, May 18, 1999, the Town
Council of the Town of Taos, New Mexico, in the regular Town
Council public meeting at the Town Council Chambers in Coronado
Hall, 120 Civic Plaza Drive, adopted the above referenced
A description of the Ordinance is as follows:
An Ordinance of the Town Council of the Town of Taos creating
a new CHAPTER 15.28 regarding "Outdoor Lighting on Public
and Private Property,"
15.28.060 GENERAL STANDARDS
15.28.070 FURTHER RESTRICTIONS
15.28.100 EFFECTIVE DATE
A copy of the full text of the ordinance is available for
inspection and/or copying at the Office of the Town Clerk, Town
Hall, 400 Camino de la Placita, Taos, New Mexico during normal
S/S Lorraine Gallegos, Town Clerk
S/S Allen Vigil, Planning Director
Legal publication one time 5/27/99
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