Boulder’s 2003 lighting ordinance takes full effect next month

BOULDER — Businesses and residents of Boulder have until Nov. 15 to come into compliance with an outdoor lighting ordinance that was passed in 2003.

The 2003 ordinance was meant to reduce light pollution and promote energy conservation. It gave the community 15 years to come into compliance, which would require retrofitting of lighting fixtures and other measures.

Starting Nov. 16, building permit applicants must demonstrate full compliance with the ordinance to obtain a building permit. Additionally, anyone applying for a rental license, for a single-family home or duplex, must also demonstrate full compliance to obtain a license, the city said in a reminder to residents issued this week.

Properties not seeking a building permit or owners of a multi-family building seeking a rental license will have one year after the Nov. 15, 2018, deadline before the city will begin enforcement actions.

Compliance will be determined through the submission of a lighting certification signed and stamped by an architect, electrical engineer, electrical contractor or lighting consultant responsible for the plans. Compliance may also be determined by the appropriate licensed design professional or contractor during the final inspection of a project when proposed lighting work is included under the scope of work. A lighting plan may be required for larger discretionary review projects, the city said. For rental license applications, compliance will be verified through the rental inspection process.

Coming into compliance may be as simple as replacing outdoor bulbs with lower wattage bulbs and aiming outdoor spotlights so they don’t cross property lines. Outdoor spots also have to be motion activated and go off after no more than five minutes.

The outdoor lighting regulations can be reviewed on the city’s website, and property owners can learn how to ensure their outdoor lighting complies with the ordinance by visiting