Outdoor Lighting Code Updates

On November 14th, at a continued public hearing, Aspen City Council unanimously passed Ordinance #12, Series of 2023, changes to the Outdoor Lighting code (Chapter 26.512). The updated chapter will come into effect on December 14th, 2023, 30 days after the approval of the ordinance. City Staff are working on updated materials for the public’s use. The materials include a new compliance calculator tool and video tutorial so that the public and staff alike may determine if a site complies with the adopted code. Other materials include educational handouts and an Outdoor Lighting Compliance Statement (required for some permit submissions and at final inspection). These materials will be available for public use on this page in the coming weeks.

The updated Outdoor Lighting chapter is based on national and international dark skies best practices. Street and pedestrian lighting play a key role in how people experience communities at night. Lighting can create a sense of place and identity throughout a city. It can also adversely affect people and wildlife habitats with glare and light trespass.

When designed with purpose and clear intent, our light can enhance the aesthetic character of Aspen, as well as improve visibility, visual comfort, wayfinding, public safety, and security. If poorly designed, lighting may create undesirable effects such as glare, light trespass, and light pollution.

Updated policies focus on key areas including:

  • Reduce pedestrian accidents and promote the health, safety and welfare of people;
  • Reduce obtrusive and glaring light that inhibit human vision and detract from enjoyment;
  • Curtail light pollution and improve nighttime environment for residents, visitors and astronomer enthusiasts;
  • Protect local and migrating ecological systems from the adverse effect of artificial light; 
  • Minimize light trespass across property lines so as to avoid disturbing neighbors and restricting access to nighttime darkness as a shared natural resource; 
  • Bring clarity for applicants and City review staff in evaluating lighting performance standards during the development review process;
  • Differentiate residential and commercial lighting needs.


Have questions? What to submit feedback? Email: Haley Hart, Long Range Planner.

  1. Ben Anderson

    Interim Director

  2. Haley Hart

    Long Range Planner

  3. Sophie Varga

    Planner I