Dark Sky Ordinance

In recognition of International Dark Sky Week (April 22-30), Discovery has released a new dark sky-themed episode of Nature in Focus. 

Compliance deadlines extended to

October 15, 2022

Updated 4/21/22 Ordinance Amendment - On May 16, 2022, the Planning Commission will hold an in-person public hearing to consider an amendment to the Dark Sky Ordinance to allow light trespass for commercial and institutionally zoned properties onto the public right-of-way. View the Notice of Public Hearing for details regarding the amendment and hearing date/time details. 

Compliance Deadlines - The Malibu City Council on January 10, 2022 extended the deadlines for commercial, residential, and institutional zoning districts to comply with the City’s Dark Sky Ordinance to October 15, 2022. The extension is in response to concerns about non-compliance and community feedback requesting more time and information about the requirements. The Dark Sky Ordinance is meant to reduce light pollution to protect Malibu’s wildlife, habitats and quality of life. The compliance period for gas stations remains October 15, 2019. 

Program Update - On February 14, the City issued a Request for Proposals for consulting services to assist with public outreach and implementation of the Dark Sky Ordinance, including workshops, with dates to be announced. On February 28, staff updated the City Council on the public outreach, the status of the lighting expert consultant, and enforcement and compliance to date. The video and staff report from the February 28 update to Council are available to view on-demand (Dark Sky item begins at 2:21:45). 

*Please note that the existing compliance deadlines only pertain to existing outdoor lighting. All newly approved construction is conditioned to be in compliance with the Dark Sky Ordinance. 


The Dark Sky Ordinance regulates outdoor lighting through the addition of comprehensive, citywide outdoor lighting standards which are contained in into Malibu Municipal Code Chapter 17.41


All outdoor light fixtures must comply with the following requirements immediately:

        1.     Outdoor light fixtures that have the ability to be redirected, shall be directed downward so as to minimize sky glow, glare and light trespass onto adjacent properties.

        2.     Outdoor light fixtures that have adjustable dimmers with color temperature that exceeds three thousand (3,000) Kelvin shall be dimmed to comply with Section 17.41.050(G) to minimize glare and light trespass onto adjacent properties.

        3.     String lights may be allowed in occupied dining and entertainment areas only and must not exceed three thousand (3,000) Kelvin. String lights shall not be used as landscape lights. This does not apply to seasonal lighting.

Additional lighting standards per zoning district can be found below: 

  1. Residential
  2. Commercial & Institutional
  • Be fully shielded and directed downward
  • Lighting Color: Be maximum Kelvin temperature of 3000 K
  • Seasonal lighting can be over 3000 K, but is only allowed from November 15 to January 15. 
  • Light Trespass Levels: Not exceed the following maximum allowable light trespass:
    • From any property onto a residential property, ESHA, ESHA buffer, Pacific Ocean, beaches, and public viewing areas: 0.1 foot-candles
    • From any property onto any other property: 0.25 foot-candles
  • Curfew: Be extinguished by 11:00 p.m. or when people are no longer present in exterior areas, whichever is later, except for lighting activated by motion sensor which extinguishes 10 minutes after activation and lighting at the building entrances and driveway egress points.
  • Lighting Intensity: Not exceed 850 lumens 
  • Maximum Height:  Outdoor light fixtures shall not be mounted higher than 18 feet above ground level.
  • Lighting around the perimeter of the site, except as required for security lighting purposes and where it is controlled by motion sensor which extinguishes the light no later than ten (10) minutes after activation, and lighting for aesthetic purposes on any parcel of land that is located along, within, provides views to or is visible from any scenic area, scenic road, public viewing area, ESHA or ESHA buffer is prohibited.

Additional lighting requirements based on zoning districts can be viewed here.


If your outdoor light fixture(s) do not meet the above requirements, you will need to go through the City’s plan review process which starts with Planning (Dark Sky Application Submittal Packet) then Building Safety for an electrical permit.