With Malibu’s Dark Sky Ordinance going into effect on October 15, 2018, the City Planning Department is rolling out an awareness campaign to offer information and resources to help residents and businesses comply with the requirements.

“I want my grandchildren to be able to experience the wonder and inspiration of seeing the star-filled night sky. In Malibu we are blessed to live surrounded by nature, the mountains and the ocean, and our dark, starry skies are a big part of that,” said Mayor Rick Mullen. “I am proud to be able to say we took steps to protect that heritage.”

A widespread messaging campaign including newspaper advertisements, announcements on the City website and social media, direct mail, and email messages will help ensure that residents and businesses have enough time to make any changes necessary to meet the new requirements. The City’s project webpage at www.MalibuCity.org/DarkSky offers examples of compliant lighting methods as well as relevant deadlines and other information. The requirements of the ordinance include:

  • Outdoor light fixtures that are fully shielded, directed downward and do not exceed 850 lumens
  • Maximum Kelvin temperature of 3000 K
  • Requirements for motion detectors, string lights and allowable light trespass from property lines
  • Additional lighting requirements based on zoning districts

The City Council unanimously approved the ordinance in April 2018 in order to preserve Malibu’s rural character and quality of life, protect wildlife and habitats from light pollution, preserve enjoyment of the night-time sky, and promote the City’s goal of conserving energy and natural resources.

The goal of the Dark Sky Ordinance is to reduce nighttime light pollution to preserve night skies by adding comprehensive citywide outdoor lighting standards to the Malibu zoning code. The ordinance, which has been five years in the making, will go into effect in October 2018. Grace periods have been drafted into the ordinance to assist residents and business owners with the implementation process. Some provisions will take effect on October 15, 2018.

While developing the ordinance, the City held numerous community workshops and meetings, providing education about the impacts of light pollution on people and nature, model lighting ordinances that have been adopted in other cities, and light pollution-reducing lighting technologies.

The ordinance aims to provide safe and effective levels of outdoor lighting, mainly by ensuring lighting is used when and where it is needed so that it does not indiscriminately cause light pollution.

In 2013, the City Council enacted a citywide outdoor lighting ordinance that was created with assistance from the International Dark-Sky Association (IDA). The IDA is a United States-based non-profit organization started in 1988 by astronomers in an effort preserve the nighttime environment and reduce light pollution.

For more information, visit the City’s project webpage at www.MalibuCity.org/DarkSky.

Submitted by Matt Myerhoff Malibu Media Information Officer