In August 2017, the Town of Jackson and Teton County took steps to better protect our dark and starry night skies by adopting an amendment to the Land Development Regulations to update exterior lighting standards. The amendment was put forward by local non-profit Wyoming Stargazing and serves to better align local regulations with the 2012 Comprehensive Plan’s vision to reduce light pollution and protect nighttime skies.
The Town Council and Board of County Commissions adopted several key changes with approval of the Exterior Lighting Amendment.
The new regulations measure maximum illumination using ‘lumens,’ a metric commonly found on lighting packaging.
The updated regulations established limits to how much illumination on a property is permitted. There are now maximum illumination limits per square foot of site development (areas covered by buildings, paved or gravel surfaces, decks, and walkways) on a property.
The new regulations require that all exterior lights have a correlated color temperature below 3000 Kelvin. Correlated color temperature, also known as light color, has impacts on public health, especially sleep patterns, a fact supported by the American Medical Association who released a report in June of last year urging local communities to cease installing street lights with a correlated color temperature over 3000 Kelvin.
And finally, the new regulations now require commercial properties to incorporate the use of timers or automatic dimmers to reduce lighting by 12 am.
Requirements that lights be ‘shielded’ so as not to shine light into the night sky, classification of prohibited lights, and requirements that lights be contained on site are standards that already existed in the old exterior lighting regulations. Building permit applicants will be asked to show how their projects comply with these three standards in addition to the newly adopted standards discussed above.