Lighting Regulations


The Land Development Code includes a new section that regulates outdoor lighting. The purpose of the regulation is to provide clear standards for the installation of new outdoor lighting that will reduce nuisances of light trespass and glare, maintain and complement the community's character, and to provide a safe nighttime environment for pedestrians, motorists and properties. The regulations vary according to the form district in which a site is located.


The standards in the lighting regulation shall apply to all new outdoor “luminaires” (lighting fixtures) erected in Metro Louisville. Fixtures in place before the effective date of this regulation that do not meet the standards of Section 4.1.3 may remain in place as nonconforming luminaires. When nonconforming luminaires are removed or replaced the new luminaires shall comply with the standards of the lighting regulation.


All new light fixtures must be shielded to focus light on the property being illuminated (see illustration). The following luminaire shielding requirements apply:

Form District Level of Shielding
Neighborhood, Traditional Neighborhood or Village form districts Fully Shielded so that no direct light emits above a horizontal plane.
All other form districts Shielded so that no more than 2.5 percent of the lamp lumens emits above the horizontal plane.


Height limits are established for outdoor lighting in the residential form districts:

Form District Mounting Height Limit
Neighborhood or Village form district 30 feet
Traditional Neighborhood, Traditional Workplace or Traditional Marketplace Corridor form district 20 feet
All other form districts N/A


All luminaires mounted on or recessed into the lower surface of canopies or drive-through bays shall be fully-shielded and utilize flat lenses. The lighting levels under these structures shall comply with the following standards:

Form District Maximum Lighting Level
Neighborhood, Traditional Neighborhood, Traditional Marketplace Corridor, Traditional Workplace, and Village form district 50 footcandles
All other form districts 70 footcandles


These lighting types are prohibited:

  • Fixtures with drop or sag lenses
  • Flashing and strobe lights employed to draw attention to business establishments, special events, etc.
  • Search lights
Please see Chapter 4, Part 1, Section 3 of the Land Development Code for the entire text of the lighting regulation.


The LDC regulates light “trespass” onto adjacent streets and residential sites. Light that spills across property lines shall not exceed the following standards:

  • One-half (0.5) footcandle at any property border adjoining a low- to medium-density residentially zoned or used property border.
  • One (1.0) footcandle at any property border adjoining a high-density residentially zoned or used property border or public right-of-way.
  • If the existing light level at any property border exceeds one-half footcandle prior to the development of a subject site, then the level of lighting resultant from luminaires installed on that site shall not increase the light level at the property border by more than one-half footcandle.


The Planning Commission may waive the requirements of the Land Development Code, including the lighting regulation. Adjacent property owners are notified two weeks prior to the Commission’s action on any waiver request.


Luminaire = A complete lighting system, including a lamp or lamps and a fixture.

Light Trespass = The shining of light produced by a luminaire beyond the boundaries of the property on which it is located.

Fully-Shielded Light Fixture (also known as Full-cutoff) = A lighting fixture constructed in such a manner that all light emitted by the fixture, is projected below the horizontal. Any structural part of the light fixture controlling light emissions must be permanently affixed.

Shielded (also known as cutoff) Light Fixture = A lighting fixture constructed in such a manner that no more than 2.5 percent of the lamp lumens are emitted above the horizontal plane through the lowest direct-light-emitting part of the luminaire.

Sag-lens or Drop-lens = A clear or prismatic refracting lens that extends below the lowest opaque portion of a light fixture.