February 20, 2023   

New Jersey Town Takes Stand Against Outdoor Lighting

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Certain light fixtures “unreasonably disrupt the peace and privacy” of residents


Property owners in Pennington, New Jersey with lantern-style lights, motion activated flood lights or any other unshielded light will now be required to comply with a new town ordinance that restricts the use of such luminaires. 

Pennington’s Borough Council has determined that outdoor lighting fixtures which illuminate beyond the property on which they are installed, when left on during the late night and early morning hours, unreasonably disrupt the peace and privacy of neighboring residents and endanger public health. As a result, the Mercer County borough located 8 miles outside of Princeton, New Jersey, has recently enacted an ordinance that limits the use of certain outdoor lighting fixtures during nighttime hours.

Outdoor lighting fixtures that are not shielded and constructed to prevent illumination beyond the property on which they are installed, including lights controlled by motion detectors, shall be turned off between 10 P.M. and sunrise.

Lighting shall be presumed to prevent illumination beyond the property if it is shielded and directed downward and no direct light is emitted above a plane extending outward from the base of the light source parallel to the ground. Illumination beyond the property between 10:00 P.M. and sunrise is prohibited.

- Recently passed Pennington, New Jersey ordinance

As the country’s most densely populated state, New Jersey is not known for properties that are large, sprawling, multi acre sites, but the motion sensor prohibition will ban commercial and residential property owners from operating very popular motion-activated flood lights.

The ordinance makes no exceptions for signage lighting, so we believe that the new rule will impact the signage lighting at the Pennington Pizza & Grill, Burger King as well as the Exxon station on Route 31. The Exxon station closes at 7:00 pm, but in most months its 6:00 am open time occurs before sunrise.

As of press time, Wawa has no locations within the borough limits of Pennington.