Dark Sky Ordinance


Videos are available of the two virtual educational presentations the City hosted to help residents and businesses be able to comply with the City's Dark Sky requirements by the October 15, 2022 deadline. Watch the residential properties presentation. Watch the commercial and multifamily properties presentation. The City's Dark Sky Ordinance is meant to protect Malibu’s wildlife, habitat and quality of life from light pollution. Requirements include light fixtures that are fully shielded, have low color temperature, and direct light downwards. 




On August 8, 2022, the Malibu City Council held a public hearing and introduced on first reading Ordinance No. 502, which would allow a light trespass limit for commercially and institutionally zoned properties onto the public right-of-way. The August 8 staff report is available online. The City Council will hold a second reading on the Ordinance on August 22, 2022. 

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. 

Steps to Get to Compliance

  1. Check all of your outdoor light fixtures, which must be fully shielded, have low color temperature, and direct light downwards to see if any adjustments need to be made. 
  2. View the City’s Dark Sky guide for Commercial Lighting Plan and Photometrics. It is strongly recommended to visit the Planning Public Counter prior to preparing your application. See the City Department Counter Hours & Contact Information for public counter hours. 
  3.  Planning Review - Initiate the submittal of a Dark Sky Application to the   Planning Department through the Planning Online Portal at https://malibupermits.ci.malibu.ca.us/PlApp.html. For questions or assistance, contact staff at 310-456-2489, 485 or Mplanning@malibucity.org
  4. Submit an Electrical Plan Check Review request to Building Safety through the online portal at Malibucity.org/BPApplication. For questions or assistance, contact staff at 310-456-2489, ext. 390 or Mbuilding@malibucity.org.


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: Do 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 PM 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.

View additional lighting requirements based on zoning districts.


View the July 20, 2022 video of the virtual informational meeting where commercial property owners and managers received guidance and information, and had the opportunity to ask City staff questions about the ordinance.


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