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Chautauqua Lighting Design Guidelines

Link to Chautauqua Lighting Plan Banner image.

Learn About Historic PreservationLearn about the Chautauqua Pedestrian Safety, Access and Lighting Improvements Project 

A Strategic Approach to Lighting at the Chautauqua

The Colorado Chautauqua National Historic Landmark is a special place, and changes, such as new lighting, require care and robust stakeholder engagement to ensure the changes honor the historic context of the place and support broader community goals and values. The City of Boulder and the Colorado Chautauqua Association are working together to develop a lighting plan to improve exterior lighting within the National Historic Landmark.

In November, the City of Boulder and the Colorado Chautauqua Association unanimously voted to adopt the Chautauqua Park Historic District Lighting Design Guidelines. In following the rulemaking procedures, a notice was published in the Daily Camera on Wednesday, January 10, 2018. The adopting authority, the Landmarks Board, will consider written public comments for 15 days after publication of this notice before issuing a final rule. Directions on how to submit comments during the 15-day public comment period can be found in the Notice. The Notice, the Standard (non-emergency) Regulation/Rule, and the Chautauqua Lighting Design Guidelines can be found in this combined document Notice, Rule, and Chautauqua Lighting Design Guidelines. pdf

You can now review the Final Chautauqua Lighting Design Guidelines pdf


Project Background

The Chautauqua Lighting Plan team recently engaged consultants to review the historic record to understand the role electric lighting played at Chautauqua in the past. This will help ensure the Lighting Plan proposes solutions that are consistent with the historic character of the place. The details of this analysis will be available soon.


These guidelines were developed in 2017 through the collaborative efforts of the Colorado Chautauqua Association, City of Boulder, consultant team, working group and core team members, and community members.

Project Managers

Marcy Cameron, Historic Preservation Planner, PH&S Michael Matts, Director of Cultural Resources & Operations, CCA



Tina Bishop, Principal, Mundus Bishop Shelby Scharen, Mundus Bishop Kate Bolton, Mundus Bishop David Roederer, Clanton and Associates 


Landmarks Board Eric Budd (Chair), Bill Jellick, Ronnie Pelusio, Fran Sheets, Deborah Yin


CCA Representatives

Tom Thorpe, Nan Anderson, John Kenyon, Kristin Lewis, Barbara Guthery


CCA Board of Directors Cindy Schmidt (President), Nan Anderson (Vice President), Michelle Estrella, Bill Briggs, Linda Arroyo-Holmstrom, Anne Clemons, Dan Corson, Olivia Foulkrod, Mike Franson, Tom Galey, Bob Morehouse, Lisa Morzel, Julie Rogers, Margaret Ryder, Tom Thorpe


Advisory Boards Parks and Recreation Advisory Board, Open Space Board of Trustees  


Working Group Members Abby Daniels, Historic Boulder, Inc. Ben Gilbert, Colorado Chautauqua Cottagers Karl Anuta, Friends of Chautauqua Kathryn Barth, Friends of Chautauqua Dan Corson, Former LB member and neighbor Korbin Pugh, History Colorado Astrid Liverman, History Colorado Cosima Krueger-Cunningham, Sierra Club- Indian Peaks Chapter


Core Team Members Jeff Medanich, Colorado Chautauqua Association Jeff Haley, Parks and Recreation James Hewat, Historic Preservation, PH&S Ben Irwin, Communications Gretchen King, Communications Joe Paulson, Public Works Ericka Pilcher, Open Space and Mountain Parks Joel Wagner, Finance. An important component of the project is to understand how current and planned lighting will affect the Chautauqua and the larger community. Consultants are analyzing how current area lighting behaves and how future lighting can promote safety, while also honoring the historic character of the place, as well as the city's objectives for sustainability and control of the overall affect of ambient light in the community.


Existing Conditions Assessment

The consultant team assessed the exterior lighting currently found in the historic district. Exterior lights are typically concentrated at the more frequently visited destinations, including the Dining Hall and Auditorium. There is also some limited pathlighting and parking lot lights. Most of the exterior lights are Dark-Sky friendly.










Needs Assessment

Input was gathered over the course of the development of the Lighting Design Guidelines through meetings, study sessions, open houses, a feedback booth, an online survey, and an evening walking tour.

While there was a wide variety of opinions, there was general agreement in a number of areas:

  • A conservative approach to lighting is appropriate;
  • different areas of Chautauqua require specialized approaches to lighting; and;
  • the need for lighting should be clearly documented.

In terms of lighting qualities, the majority of participants considered that lighting approaches should minimize light pollution and light trespass, and provide lighting only when and where it is necessary. To that end, there were many suggestions that lights be programmed to be turned down or off when they are not needed.

Most participants indicated that lighting is needed for safety, to reduce tripping hazards, and wayfinding. While there were many people who considered lighting is not needed for security purposes, the majority of Dining Hall employees that responded to a survey expressed a desire for increased lighting between the Dining Hall and the Tennis Court Parking Lot, which they typically access late at night and early in the morning. Residents and staff reported interactions with bears and other animals across the campus after dark.


Lighting Principles

The Lighting Principles were developed through feedback from the Staff Core Team, Community Working Group, community members and board members, and informed the recommendations and lighting design guidelines.

  • Preserve the camp-like character and architectural and historic integrity of the Chautauqua Park Historic District/National Historic Landmark when proposing lighting for the district or surroundings.
  • Provide a dark sky environment for Chautauqua including meeting or exceeding local and national and international guidance as set forth by the International Darksky Association for best practices for light level, trespass, pollution or glare.
  • Achieve energy efficiency and sustainability in all new and retrofitted lighting proposals.
  • Provide lighting only when and where need is clearly identified for safety, security, programming, accessibility or wayfinding, using the basic approach of providing a balance or consistency of light through use of light color and levels, controls, and placement of fixtures.
  • Maintain dark areas within Chautauqua and surroundings to protect wildlife, open spaces and park areas, and scenic viewsheds.

Recommended Approaches to Lighting

Seven Lighting Areas have been identified to acknowledge the variety of spaces and uses within the Chautauqua Park Historic District.

  1. General 
  2. Public Spaces 
  3. Residential 
  4. Parking/Vehicular Circulation 
  5. Primary Pedestrian 
  6. Park 
  7. Open Space
  8. Baseline Road 

The Project Process

This lighting design guidelines were developed over the course of four phases: 

  1. Historic Context and Existing Conditions; Development of Project Goals and Draft Lighting Principles (May-June 2017).

The initial phase focused on evaluating existing conditions, researching the history of lighting at Chautauqua, assessing the appropriateness and need for lighting, and developing project goals and draft lighting principles.

  • Core Team Meeting #1 – May 23, 2017
  • Working Group Meeting #1 – May 25, 2017
  • Open House and Joint LB/CCA Study Session #1 – June 26, 2017
  1. Lighting Areas and Desired Qualities (July-August). The second phase included the identification of lighting areas and desired qualities, shaped by the historic research, lighting principles, and feedback from the working groups, boards and community members.
  • Core Team Meeting #2 – July 11, 2017
  • Working Group Meeting #2 – July 13, 2017
  • Open House and Joint LB/CCA Study Session #2 – July 26, 2017
  • Evening Walking Tour – August 8, 2017
  1. Draft Design Guidelines (August-October) . Following the development of the recommended approaches to lighting, the project team developed draft design guidelines to aid in future decision-making related to exterior lighting within the boundaries of the historic district. The guidelines were revised based on Core Team, Working Group, and board feedback. 
  • Core Team Meeting #3 – August 29, 2017
  • Working Group Meeting #3 – August 31, 2017
  • Public Comment and Joint LB/CCA Study Session #3 – September 11, 2017
  • Public Comment and Joint LB/CCA Study Session #4 - October 4, 2017 
  1. Finalize Plan and Design Guidelines (November 2017).  

The last phase involved finalizing recommendations and design guidelines based on the consultant work, community, board and working group feedback. The design guidelines were unanimously adopted by the Landmarks Board on Nov. 1 and by the CCA Board of Directors on Nov. 13. 

Contact Information

For further information please contact Marcy Cameron at 303-441-3209 or [email protected]