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Cambridge Outdoor Lighting Ordinance Taskforce

Lighting and Signage outside the Central Square Theater

The City Manager appointed the Outdoor Lighting Ordinance Task Force to work with City staff to evaluate existing standards, offer guidance for the creation of a new ordinance, propose new regulatory approaches, and develop enforcement mechanisms. The intent being to permit an amount of outdoor lighting that is appropriate to allow for the safe use and enjoyment of outdoor areas, while also mitigating light trespass and glare to abutters and the public at large, reducing light pollution, and promoting energy conservation. The Task Force is comprises of representatives from City departments, including Community Development, Electrical, Inspectional Services, and the License Commission, along with Cambridge residents, property owners, and business representatives.

The Task Force is considering existing Cambridge lighting standards, as well as concerns raised in the Teague Zoning Petition. In connection with a lighting consultant’s efforts, the Task Force is reviewing industry standards and technology innovations that can address environmental, safety, and economic concerns. Finally, proposed enhancements to Cambridge outdoor lighting standards are being evaluated from a legislative and compliance perspective to recommend best practices for implementation for both existing building and future fixtures and developments.

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October 31, 2016

Please find a copy of the Outdoor Lighting Ordinance Presentation from October 27, 2016 here.

October 4, 2016

Please be advised that Councillors Carlone and Cheung have scheduled Ordinance Committee hearings for Thursday, October 27, 2016 in the Cambridge City Hall Sullivan Chamber as follows:

3:00 P.M. - Proposed amendment to the Zoning Ordinances to amend four sections in Article 19.000 intended to complement the proposed new Municipal Lighting Ordinance by strengthening the review of outdoor lights in significant new development.

5:00 P.M. - Proposed amendment to the Municipal Code in Title Fifteen entitled “Buildings and Construction” by adding a new Chapter 15.22 entitled “Outdoor Lighting.”

For more information on this Ordinance Committee Hearing, click here.

September 26, 2016

The proposed Outdoor Lighting Zoning Recommendations will be presented at the September 26, 2016 City Council meeting beginning at 5:30 p.m. as a part of the City Manager's Agenda.

Click here for more information.

June 20, 2016

The proposed Outdoor Lighting Ordinance will presented at the June 20, 2016 City Council meeting beginning at 5:30 p.m. as part of the City Manager's Agenda.

Click here for more information.

May 11, 2016

The Task Force Members will be meeting on Wednesday, May 11th at 4:00 PM to discuss the cover memorandum to be submitted to the City Manager with the proposed Outdoor Lighting Ordinance. The meeting will take place in the ISD conference room in the basement of the Lombardi Building, 831 Massachusetts Avenue.

This is an open meeting but public comment will not be taken.

The proposed Outdoor Lighting Ordinance by the Outdoor Lighting Ordinance Task Force is posted under the Documents Tab and also under the Meeting #17 in the Presentation, Meeting Notes, and Materials Tab. This includes both the Redlined and NonRedlined versions dated May 2, 2016. This proposed draft is under review by the Law Department. After the review, the Task Force will present the City Manager with a recommendation.

Notes from the April 27th meeting are posted under the Meeting #17 in the Presentation, Meeting Notes, and Materials Tab.


Meeting #18 - May 11, 2016 4:00 P.M. - 6:00 P.M.

  • Discussion by Task Force Members of Proposed Memorandum of Recommendations to the City Manager.

Meeting #17 - April 27, 2016 4:00 P.M. - 6:00 P.M.

  • Recap of Final DRAFT of the Outdoor Lighting Ordinance, remaining issues to be resolved, next steps.

  • Discussion by Task Force Members of Proposed Memorandum of Recommendations to the City Manager.

Meeting #16 - April 7, 2016 4:00 P.M. - 6:00 P.M.

  • Recap of proposed Outdoor Lighting Ordinance, remaining issues to be resolved, next steps.

  • Discussion by Task Force Members about proposed draft and additional revisions.

Meeting #15 - March 10, 2016 4:00 P.M. - 6:00 P.M. (New Meeting)

  • Presentation on the LEED Light Pollution Reduction Credit and how it would work with the proposed Outdoor Lighting Ordinance.
  • Discussion by Task Force Members about proposed draft and additional revisions.

Meeting #14 - February 25, 2016 4:00 P.M. - 6:00 P.M.

  • Recap of proposed Outdoor Lighting Ordinance, remaining issues to be resolved, next steps.

  • Discussion by Task Force Members about proposed draft and additional revisions.

Meeting #13 - January 28, 2016 4:00 P.M. - 6:00 P.M.

  • Recap of proposed Outdoor Lighting Ordinance, remaining issues to be resolved, next steps.
  • Discussion by Task Force Members about proposed draft and additional revisions.

Meeting #12 - December 16, 2015 4:00 P.M. - 6:00 P.M.

  • Recap of proposed Outdoor Lighting Ordinance, remaining issues to be resolved, next steps.
  • Discussion by Task Force Members about proposed draft and additional revisions.

Meeting #11 - December 3, 2015 4:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m.

  • Recap of proposed Outdoor Lighting Ordinance, remaining issues to be resolved, next steps.
  • Discussion by Task Force Members about proposed draft and additional revisions.

Meeting #10 - November 4, 2015 4:00 P.M. - 6:00 P.M.

  • Recap of proposed Outdoor Lighting Ordinance, remaining issues to be resolved, next steps.
  • Discussion by Task Force Members about proposed draft and additional revisions.

Meeting #9 - October 22, 2015 4:00 P.M. - 6:00 P.M.

  • Recap of proposed Outdoor Lighting Ordinance, remaining issues to be resolved, next steps.
  • Discussion by Task Force Members about proposed draft and additional revisions.

Meeting #8 - September 16, 2015 4:00 P.M. - 6:00 P.M.

  • Recap of proposed Outdoor Lighting Ordinance, remaining issues to be resolved, next steps.
  • Discussion by Task Force Members about proposed draft and additional revisions.

Meeting #7, June 10, 2015 5:00 P.M. - 7:00 P.M.

  • Review of proposed Outdoor Lighting Ordinance draft provided by the Law Department based on recommendations from the Outdoor Lighting Task Force.
  • Review of proposed Good Neighbor Outdoor Lighting Brochure

Meeting #6, August 20, 2014 4:00 P.M. - 6:00 P.M.

  • Review of draft of revised Outdoor Lighting Ordinance draft.

Meeting #5, May 21, 2014 4:00 P.M. - 6:00 P.M.

  • Review of proposed Outdoor Lighting Ordinance draft and Performance Lighting District Map.

Meeting #4, April 2, 2014 4:00 P.M. - 6:00 P.M.

  • Continued presentation on possible recommendations that could be included in an outdoor lighting ordinance.

Meeting #3, February, 26, 2014, 4:00 P.M. - 6:00 P.M.

  • Presentation on possible recommendations that could be included in an outdoor lighting ordinance.

Meeting #2, January 15, 2014, 4:00 P.M. - 6:00 P.M.

  • Walking tour of residential and commercial areas to review concerns with customary lighting.

Meeting #1 – December 4, 2013, 4:00 P. M. - 6:00 P. M.

  • Outdoor Lighting Ordinance Agenda and Scope of Work
  • Existing Cambridge Lighting Ordinances
  • Planning Board Recommendations
  • Presentation of Model Lighting Ordinance and Best Practices from other Cities
  • Discussion by Committee and Next Steps

Task Force Members:

  • Carol Lynn Alpert - Resident Representative
  • Chris Basler - Community Development Department
  • Andrea Boyer - License Commission
  • Peter Calkins - Commercial Property Representative
  • David Chilinski - Resident and Business Representative
  • Steve Lenkauskas - Electrical Department
  • Ranjit Singanayagam - Inspectional Services Department
  • Charles Teague - Resident Representative
  • Bob Woodbury - Resident Representative

Lighting Consultant:

  • Paul Lutkevich, Vice President - Technical Director, Parsons Brinckerhoff
  • Jeffery Berg, Lighting Design - Supervising Architect, Parsons Brinckerhoff

Project Staff:

Chris Basler, Outdoor Lighting Ordinance Project Manager, Community Development Department. Chris Basler can be reach via phone at 617/349-4601 or via email at cbasler@cambridgema.gov.

  • Andrea Boyer - License Commission
  • Lt. Leonard DiPietro - Police Department
  • Iram Farooq - Community Development Department
  • Lisa Hemmerle - Community Development Department
  • Steve Lenkauskas - Electrical Department
  • Jeff Roberts - Community Development Department
  • Ranjit Singanayagam - Inspectional Services Department

Meeting #18 - May 11, 2016

Meeting #17 - April 27, 2016


Meeting #16 - April 7, 2016

Meeting #15 - March 10, 2016

Meeting #14 - February 25, 2016

Meeting #13 - January 28, 2016

Meeting #12 - December 16, 2015

Meeting #11 - December 3, 2015

Meeting #10 - November 4, 2015

Meeting #9 - October 22, 2015

Meeting #8 - September 16, 2015

Meeting #7 - June 10, 2015

Meeting #6 - August 20, 2014

Meeting #5 - May 21, 2014

Meeting #4 - April 2, 2014

Meeting #3 - February 26, 2014

Meeting #2 - January 15, 2014

Meeting #1 - December 4, 2013

If you would like to receive information about this task force and updates, please contact Chris Basler at cbasler@cambridgema.gov or 617/349-4601 to be added to the e-mail notification list. You can also use this form to join the email list.