Town of Niskayuna, NY

Guidelines for Lighting of Outdoor
Areas Under Site Plan Review
[Added 3-16-1999 by L.L. No. 3-1999

§ 220-48.8. Purpose.
A. Guidelines for lighting of outdoor areas under site plan review provides for levels of illuminance, which are consistent with the proposed use of the properties under consideration, safety requirements and neighborhood appearances. These guidelines will further assure that installations with similar levels or activity will be designed to the same illuminance levels.
B. The guidelines are based on standards and practices recommended in the Illuminating Engineering Society Lighting Handbook.

§ 220-48.9. Definitions.
The following terms shall have the indicated meanings:
CANDLE-POWER DISTRIBUTION CURVE - A curve representing the variation of luminous intensity of the luminaire, measured in candelas in a plane through a light center.
CUTOFF LIGHT DISTRIBUTION - Light distribution for a luminaire such that candle power per 1,000 lumens does not exceed 25(2.5%) at 99° above nadir or 100 (10%) at 80° above nadir at any location around the luminaire. The cut-off classification is usually specified on the manufacturers published data.
(Figure in code showing definition of nadir and typical candlepower distribution plot, omitted here.)
DRIVEWAY ACCESS - A usable roadway suitable for vehicular traffic connecting private buildings, parking areas and other facilities to public streets and roads.
GENERAL PARKING AND PEDESTRIAN AREA- Area where pedestrian and vehicular activity is likely to occur simultaneously.
GLARE - The sensation produced by luminance sufficiently greater than the luminance to which the eye is adapted so as to cause annoyance, discomfort or loss in visual performance and visibility.
ILLUMINANCE - The density of light on a surface quantified in foot-candles, measured by an illuminance meter or calculated by accepted engineering techniques.
LEVEL OF ACTIVITY - Classification by the number of vehicles and level of pedestrian activity in the area.
LIGHT DISTRIBUTION - The luminance at all points on the illuminated surface from specified light sources at specified mounting heights and spacing.
LIGHT TRESSPASS - The unwanted lighting of neighboring properties from light sources intended for the proposed sites.
LUMINAIRE - A complete lighting unit consisting of a light source and all necessary mechanical, electrical and decorative parts.
MOUNTING HEIGHT - The vertical distance of the light source from the illuminated plane.
SPACING - The horizontal distance between adjacent light sources.

§ 220-48.10. Level of activity.
Lighting requirements for an outdoor area depend on the level of usage the facility is anticipated to receive. Table I in 220-48.14 establishes four levels of activity, which correspond to the level of traffic and pedestrian activity. Each includes a broad range of activities. For activities not included in Table 1, the Planning Board, in consultation with the applicant, will assign a level consistent with the expected activity on the site.

§ 220-48.11. Illuminance recommendations
Table 2 in § 220-48.15 includes illuminance recommendations for open parking facilities and driveways. These recommend tins provide for the safe movement of traffic, for satisfactory vision for pedestrians and for the guidance of both vehicle operators and pedestrians, The illuminance levels are the lowest acceptable, consistent with the seeing task involved and the need to deter vandalism while meeting energy conservation constraints,
A. Light distribution. Illuminance is affected by interrelated factors such as the characteristics of the specified light sources, mounting heights and spacing. These and other factors must be chosen so that illuminance meets the guidelines specified herein without causing glare or light trespass.
(1) General lighting. Luminaries for general area lighting, whether pole or wall mounted shall have cut-off light distribution. Spotlights and floodlights shall not be used for general lighting. Where supplementary lighting is desired (for example, for building or sign illumination) the luminaires should be properly shielded to avoid light trespass and glare.
(2) External sign lighting. Where illumination of freestanding signs is desired, the illuminator shall be chosen to avoid glare in the area below and around the sign. If necessary, the sign shall be constructed of opaque panels or surrounded by dense shrubbery from the lower edge of the sign to the ground.
(3) Mounting height of luminaires. Mounting heights of luminaires, whether pole- or wall-mounted, shall be limited as follows:
(a) For development projects subject to site plan review in the RR-80, RR-4O, R-1, R-2, R-3, R-P and L-C Zoning Districts, maximum mounting heights shall not exceed 20 feet.
(b) For development projects subject to site plan review in the C-N Zoning District, maximum mounting height shall not exceed 22 feet.
(c) For development projects in The C-H, C-S, I-G and I-R Zoning Districts, maximum mounting height shall not exceed 30 feet or the roof line of the building, whichever is less, except that mounting height for lighting located within 50 feet of a residential property line shall not exceed 20 feet.
(d) For development projects subject to site plan review in the Town Center Overlay District, see § 220-48.5C(3).
3. Minimum illuminances for general parking and pedestrian areas. Minimum footcandles have been specified for the general parking and pedestrian areas because an absolute minimum of lighting is necessary for the identification of features for pedestrian safety. Levels should not be lower than the recommended minimum at any point.
C. Minimum levels for driveway access. Minimum footcandles have been specified based on the assumption that separate walkways are provided for pedestrian activity. Where mixed pedestrian and vehicular traffic is anticipated higher levels of illuminance should be provided.
D. Illuminance at entrances. Illuminance at entrances from public roads to private parking areas and private access driveways must he adequate for vehicle operators to recognize entrance details, to decelerate and to safely leave the traffic stream.
(I) Glare and excessive contrast between public road and private areas should be avoided.
(2) Typical entrance illuminance levels we 0.5 to 2.0 footcandles.
E. Maximum illuminance at property lines. At the property line of the subject property, illumination from luminaires shall not exceed 0.1 footcandles on residential property or 0.5 footcandles on nonresidential property, as measured on a vertical plan.
F. Energy management. Under certain circumstances it may be desirable to reduce the lighting levels during periods of reduced activity. For example during peak use, the "high" activity lighting level may be required. During inactive periods, where level of activity is in the now" classification, only security lighting might be required.
G. Neighborhood consideration. Within the requirements of public safety, new lighting shall avoid nuisance to neighborhood properties and shall not have adverse effect on the character of the area as defined by zoning regulations.

§ 220-48.12. Procedure.
A. The Planning Board will assign a level of activity based upon submitted information. Submission to the Board shall include sufficient information about vehicular and pedestrian traffic, neighborhood and other background to allow the Board to assign a level of activity to the project. Table 1 is a list of typical installations that the Board may use for its determinations.
B. The applicant shall develop a lighting plan based on the assigned level of activity. In Table 2, the levels of activity are associated with minimum and average illuminances, which serve as limits for design and evaluation of design. Table 2 applies only to parking facilities and driveway accesses. If the Planning Board must consider other outdoor uses, it shall consult the Illuminating Engineering Society Lighting Handbook or equivalent sources to assist in defining appropriate illuminance levels.
C. Detailed lighting plans which conform to the assigned level of activity and the associated minimum and average illuminances shall be submitted to the Planning Board for approval. Plans shall include the manufacturer's specifications for the luminaires the candle-power distribution curve of the luminaire and a map of the illuminance on the ground. Sufficient data on the placement and type of lighting fixtures shall accompany the submission for the Board to reach a conclusion on the adequacy of the plan.

§ 220-48.13. Modifications and waivers.
If strict adherence to this policy results in conflict, the Planning Board may, at its discretion, modify specific requirements to achieve balance among competing requirements.

§ 220-48.14. TABLE I: Table of Activities for Parking
Facilities and Driveway Accesses.

Table I
Level of Activities for Parking Facilities and Driveway Accesses
High Activity:

Medium Activity

Moderate Activity

Low Activity:

If the level of nighttime activity involves a large number of vehicles, then the examples above for low, moderate and medium properly belong in the next higher level of activity.

Table 2 Guidelines for Maintained Horizontal Illuminances for Parking Facilities and Driveway Accesses.

     General parking and Pedestrian Area       Driveway Access
            Footcandles  Uniformity      Footcandles     Uniformity
            (Minimum     Ratio          (Average on      Ratio
Level of     on          (average:        pavement)      (average:
Activity     pavement)    minimum)        pavement)       minimum)
High          0.9         4:1              2.0             3:1
              0.6         4:1              1.0             3:1
Moderate      0.3         4:1              0.8             4:1
Low1          0.2         4:1              0.5             4:1

1Based on requirement to maintain security in areas of low level nighttime activity.

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