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Development Review

Downtown at night, Credit Jack Gillum

The City of Fort Collins is developing new regulations for outdoor lighting and a draft is now available for review (see link below). These regulations cover new developments that consist of multi-family, commercial and institutional uses. 

After extensive public engagement, a revised Draft Code and Context Area Map are ready for review and comment. Among the revisions made include:

  • Expanding the LC3 Boundary to include more Downtown area and emergency centers;
  • Including Neighborhood Commercial Centers (grocery store centers) in LC2;
  • Providing general standards for recreation fields;
  • Including a table of Context Areas and corresponding Zone Districts for clarity of purpose; and
  • Allowing greater flexibility for property boundaries abutting public rights-of-way.

Revised Draft Code for Review



First Draft Code



Tentative Project Schedule

  • February: Revised DRAFT Code Review and Comment
  • February 23, 2021: City Council Work Session
  • March 2: First Reading for Adoption, City Council Meeting
  • March 16: Second Reading for Adoption, City Council Meeting


Kelly Smith

Project Goalshighlight_off
  • 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.
What Do the Regulations Cover?highlight_off

All exterior lighting on new development that consist of multi-family, commercial or institutional uses (in other words, any project requiring approval by the Planning and Zoning Board or a Hearing Officer). Lighting includes exterior building lighting, parking lots, decorative lighting, walkways, plazas, and landscape areas. The regulations do not cover street lighting or interior lighting.

What Are the Requirements?highlight_off
  • Restrictions on spillover lighting (light trespass) onto adjacent properties, historic resources 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 nighttime activity
  • Curfews or dimming requirements for businesses after closing and staff have left
  • Requirements for color temperature of 3000 Kelvins
Supporting Studieshighlight_off

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.

Other City Lighting Regulationshighlight_off

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 single-family detached and attached housing, and duplexes.  Requires Dark Sky Fixture Seal of Approval among other requirements. More information:

Energy Conservation Code: regulations for multi-family 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:

Report an Outdoor Lighting Complainthighlight_off

For Single-Family Residential properties

Building Inspection



For Multi-Family, Institution and Commercial properties