Our first task is to raise awareness about light pollution and how to combat it. It is important to include elected officials and governmental staff in that education process. An educated population will supply supporters for legislative action.
Texas builders must abide by the International Energy Code of the IECC for commercial, and industrial and low/high rise multi-family residential buildings, and the International Residential Code for single family construction. These codes could be amended to include outdoor lighting standards.
Texas State Codes
- Municipal Authorization
Authorizes municipalities, but NOT unincorporated areas in counties, to regulate outdoor lighting. Regulates the process for how new street lighting is to be installed using public funds.
- State Funded Outdoor Lighting Regulations
This statute provides that all new or replacement state-funded outdoor lighting must be cutoff luminaries in most instances.Legislative History -1999
- Authorization for Certain Counties to Regulate Outdoor Lighting
This statute authorizes counties to regulate outdoor lighting if they contain observatories that have telescopes of 69 inches or more objective diameter, are are permanently mounted. Otherwise, Texas counties are NOT allowed to do so; only municipalities. This bill aplies exclusively to George Observatory new Houston, Stephen F. Austin Universit at Nacogdoches, and within a 57 mile radius of McDonald Observatory near Ft. Davis.Legislative History – 2001
Legislative History – 2007
Legislative History – 2011
Local Code Creation
Local Government and Military Consideration
San Antonio and Camp Bullis Joint Land Use Study provides a view into the military perspective regarding the need to control glare and artificial lights. The development community had a strong hand in watering down this study. However, it still provides a window into the harm done to the military by uncontrolled artificial light at night.
Local Codes Within Texas
Keep in mind that local codes are the product of the political process. Many have technical errors and some omit specific protections that are desirable. It may, however, be helpful to you and your elected officials to know what other communities in Texas have enacted. For that reason, IDA Texas seeks to list the communities with outdoor lighting ordinances, regulations, or proclamations. If you are aware of a community with an outdoor lighting ordinance or proclamation not listed below, please use the contact form on this website to share that information.
- Alpine (5/00)
- Austin (January 2007) To read the code, scroll down to pages 4 and 58-60 of the PDF document
- Bexar County; San Antonio (July 2008)
- Boerne (June 2008) (PDF file download)
- Bulverde (Near San Antonio) (2003) (PDF file download)
- City of Dripping Springs (9/2016)(PDF file download)
- City of LaGrange Dark-Sky Resolution (December 2011)
- El Paso (May 2005)(PDF file download)
- Flower Mound (7/97)
- Fort Bend County (George Observatory) 3/23/04
- Fulshear (2015)
- Frisco (Nov. 2000)
- Glen Rose (5/01)
- Harker Heights (spring/summer 2002)
- Helotes (January 2009) (Scroll down to page 8) (PDF file download)
- Jeff Davis County (McDonald Observatory) (2002?)
- LLano (Jan 2016)
- Marfa (2000) (PDF file download)
- Midland (2007)
- Plano (4/00)
- Port Aransas (June 2009) (PDF file download)
- San Antonio (December 2008) (PDF file download)
- Village of Wimberley (2001)
- Webberville (June 2013)