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(Ord. No. 2011-37 10)

(A)       Purpose

            The purpose of this Section 14-8.9 is to regulate outdoor lighting in order to reduce light pollution, reduce or prevent glare, reduce or prevent light trespass, conserve energy, promote a sense of safety and security and ensure aesthetically appropriate outdoor lighting in keeping with the character of Santa Fe.

(B)       Applicability and General Provisions

(1)        All new outdoor luminaires installed on private or city property shall comply with this Section 14-8.9.

(2)        All outdoor luminaires existing and legally installed and operative before the effective date of this Section 14-8.9 are exempt from these requirements.

(3)        If a nonconforming luminaire is replaced, the replacement luminaire shall meet the requirements of this Section 14-8.9.  Modifications to nonconforming luminaires in the historic districts shall also comply with Section 14-5.2 (Historic Districts).

(4)        Agencies of the county, state and federal governments are encouraged to comply with the provisions of this Section 14-8.9.

(5)        This Section 14-8.9 applies to street lighting as well as other types of lighting.

(C)       Submittals

(1)        Applications for construction permits or applications for review by the historic districts review board that include the installation or replacement of outdoor lighting fixtures for new construction, additions or remodeling shall contain the following information:

(a)        plans indicating the location, type and height of  both building and ground mounted luminaires;

(b)        a description of the luminaires, including lamps, poles or other supports, and shielding devices, that may be provided as catalogue cuts from the manufacturer; and

(c)        photometric data, such as that furnished by the manufacturer, showing the angle of light emission

(2)        Applications for single-family residential or other projects where no lamp exceeds one hundred sixty watts are not required to comply with Subsection 14-8.9(C)(1).

(D)       General Standards

(1)        The following type of lamps are allowed and shall be shielded as provided in the table.

Table 14-8.9-1: Lamp Types and Required Shielding

TABLE 14-8.9-1: Lamp Types and Required Shielding

Lamp Type

Required Shielding

Low pressure sodium


High pressure sodium


Metal halide


Mercury vapor


Fluourescent, quartz-halogen and incandescent over 160 watts (per luminaire)


Incandescent 160 watts or less (per luminaire)


Glass tubes filled with neon**, argon, or krypton


Any light 50 watts or less (per luminaire)


Other sources***



* Mercury vapor may be permitted only for the purpose of lighting landscaping and shall be limited to 100 watts per luminaire.

** Neon is further restricted in historic districts per Section 14-8.10(H)(10).

*** May be approved by the land use director outside the historic districts or may be approved by the HDRB within H Districts.

(2)        Illumination levels and uniformity shall be in accordance with current recommended practices of the Illuminating Engineering Society of North America (IESNA) as available from the land use director.  Recommended standards of IESNA shall not be exceeded.

(3)        All outdoor luminaires shall be designed, installed, located and maintained such that nuisance glare onto adjacent properties or streets shall be minimized to the greatest extent practicable.  Disabling glare onto adjacent properties or streets is not allowed.

(4)        Except for certain structures in the historic districts or landmark structures, which are regulated by Section 14-8.10(H), accent lighting shall be directed onto the building or object and not toward the sky or onto adjacent properties.  Direct light emissions must not be visible above the roof line or beyond the building edge.

(E)       Maximum Illumination Standards

(1)        Illumination levels shall not exceed the standards in Table 14-8.9-2.

Table 14-8.9-2 Average Maintained Horizontal Footcandles at Grade

Average Maintained Horizontal Footcandles at Grade







Pedestrian Area



Parking Lots



Building Entrances



Building Grounds



Public Spaces



The maximum illumination at any point shall not exceed the allowed average by more than 1.5 Footcandles.

(2)        In all cases, the average maintained footcandles at residential property lines shall be zero.

(3)        Higher levels of illumination may be appropriate for specific or unusual applications.  Requests for higher allowed levels may be considered for individual projects or locations.  An applicant for illumination levels higher than those in Table 14-8.9-2 must justify the request in writing to the land use director, who shall have sole authority to grant or deny the request.  Additional standards of the Illuminating Engineering Society of North America (IESNA) shall be the preferred justification for consideration.

(F)       Maintenance

            The property owner or tenant is responsible for properly maintaining illumination levels and required shielding.

(G)       Further Restrictions

            The city reserves the right to further restrict outdoor lighting, including restrictions on pole height and level of illumination, when it is deemed to be in the best public interest in keeping with the stated purpose of this Section 14-8.9.

This web page updated 10/31/17
City of Santa Fe web site
Verified Current 3/23/2021 per Santa Fe Land Development Code 14-8.9 - OUTDOOR LIGHTING

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DeLapp Engineering
Main Office in Santa Fe:
1190 Harrison Rd Suite 3a
Santa Fe NM 87507
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