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Downtown at night, Credit Jack Gillum

The City of Fort Collins adopted new exterior lighting standards in the Land Use Code that took effect on March 26, 2021.  These regulations cover new commercial and multi-unit residential projects. See the adopted ordinance below:

Adopted Lighting Standards

Link to the Context Areas Map


Arlo Schumann

  • Promote nighttime safety, security and commerce;
  • Protect areas from artificial lighting with low nighttime activity, such as residential neighborhoods, while allowing more lighting in areas with moderate and high nighttime activity, such as Downtown and commercial corridors;
  • Minimize glare, obtrusive light, sky glow, and light trespass onto adjacent properties
  • Protect the local natural ecosystem and human health from the damaging effects of artificial night lighting; and
  • Promote energy conservation by capitalizing on technological advancements in the lighting field.

All exterior lighting on new multi-unit residential and commercial development projects. Regulations cover all aspects of exterior lighting, including parking lot, architectural accent lighting, walkways, plazas, and landscape areas. The regulations also cover changes to existing multi-unit residential and commercial developments. 

Regulations do not cover lighting in the public right of way, on detached houses and two-unit (duplex) residential properties, sign lighting and interior building lighting.

  • Restrictions on spillover lighting (light trespass) onto adjacent properties and natural features
  • Allowances for lumens (quantity of visible light emitted) based on land use and context to ensure sufficient lighting in areas that need it
  • Allowances for backlight, uplight and glare based on land use and context to allow more flexibility for lighting design in areas with higher nighttime activity
  • Requirements for color temperature of 3000 Kelvins

Fort Collins Case Studies Report: Analyzed the lighting installations at five recently constructed projects in the City of Fort Collins against the proposed code to understand the implications of new requirements.

Lighting Case Studies Cost Analysis: Evaluated the cost implications of the proposed code at three of the five projects evaluated in the Case Studies Report.

Depending on the type of development or construction project, a different set of standards may apply other than the Land Use Code.

Residential Code: regulations for detached houses and single-unit attached housing, and duplexes.  Requires Dark Sky Fixture Seal of Approval among other requirements. More information:

Energy Conservation Code: regulations for multi-unit residential and commercial developments that is in addition to the Land Use Code. Requires automatic dimming controls and other standards. More information:

Larimer County Urban Area Standards: regulations for street lighting in the public rights-of-way; managed by the Utility Department. More information:

For detached house properties

Building Inspection



For multi-unit residential and commercial properties