St. John hopes to shed light on new ordinance

2012-09-22T18:08:00Z 2012-09-22T18:41:24Z St. John hopes to shed light on new ordinanceLu Ann Franklin Times Correspondent
September 22, 2012 6:08 pm  • 

ST. JOHN | The Plan Commission is crafting an ordinance that will reduce the glare of all kinds of outdoor lighting.

The new ordinance is based on one adopted by the village of Homer Glen, Ill., in 2010, said Plan Commission President Greg Volk, who is also a member of the St. John Town Council.

It specifies full-cutoff performance for all lighting in commercial and industrial zones and street lighting. Full-cutoff means that the light distribution from a fixture is controlled and does not spill into the adjoining area with glaring illumination. However, such lighting fully illuminates an area, such as a business, when someone enters a parking lot.

At Wednesday’s study session, the commissioners, Town Manager Steve Kil and Town Engineer Kenn Kraus went line by line through the luminaire standards in the Homer Glen lighting ordinance. They made various changes to reflect St. John’s and Indiana’s customs and laws.

“High-pressure sodium (light bulbs) is what we’d like to see used for street lighting,” Volk said.

St. John also uses 100-watt lights.

The 25-foot height of standard light poles will be specified in the new ordinance for residential and commercial/industrial zones. St. John already has two design standards on the books for decorative and aluminium-spun poles, Kil said.

There will be special design exceptions for car sales lots and sports fields, Volk said.

Lighting for sporting fields will depend on the level of play, Kraus said.

“It all comes together when you design a sports field,” he said.

Among the outdoor lighting that likely will be prohibited in the new ordinance are the use of laser light sources, “architectural lighting of any portion of a building or structure with a polish or glass exterior surfaces that uses uplighting," searchlights and neon lights to accent a building or architectural features.

Some types of outdoor lighting will be exempt from the ordinance. They include underwater lighting used for illumination of swimming pools and fountains; lighting required by county, state or federal law; temporary holiday lighting; portable lighting temporarily used for maintenance or repair that’s not deemed by the town or state or create a hazard or nuisance; emergency lighting used by first responders or medical personnel; lighting approved by the town for such events as carnivals, circuses and festivals; and temporary lighting required for road construction or other public improvements.

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