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You can relax now: String lights legal year-round in Cornelius

Photo by Jason Benavides

Feb. 20. By Dave Vieser. Cornelius commissioners unanimously approved new regulations which will permit tubing and string lighting previously banned in the town. There was no opposition to the change which was ratified at the Monday Feb. 19 Town Board meeting.

“Up until now, our town code had prohibited any illuminated tubing or strings of lights except holiday lights,” said Planning Director Rox Burhans. “As residents have no doubt observed, more businesses are now choosing to use outdoor string lights throughout the year, not just during the holidays.”


In fact, despite the previous town code, existing outdoor lighting can already be found in the growing arts district area and it is commonly used to highlight outdoor dining and entertainment areas and buildings in other commercial areas.


The new regulation stipulates what lighting effects will be permitted: Outdoor decorative lighting; static string lighting to highlight outdoor seating and entertainment areas, and architectural features of  principal buildings will be allowed. The lighting must be a single neutral color (i.e., white, cream, etc.), decorative, unobtrusive, and non-flashing. It may not be used as part of any sign.

In other action, the commissioners:

—Approved the addition of $226,556 to the current budget for a new police boat which will arrive in March. The majority of the funds will be reimbursed by the American Rescue Act.

—Formally recognized by citation a gift of $50,000 to the Cornelius Animal Shelter by Angela and Kevin Lambert in honor of their parents Sue and Bennett Gray. The Grays were long-time residents of Cornelius and had a great love for animals.