WINFIELD | Outdoor lights installed in Winfield now will be governed by the first lighting standards ordinance adopted unanimously by the Town Council.
“The lights on some the businesses (along Randolph Street) shine into residents’ yards and other businesses. There are neon lights and in some places, the lights are blinding,” said Jim Simmons, a councilman and member of the Winfield Plan Commission.
“It really sort of stinks, but it’s part of development.”
Endorsed by the Plan Commission, the new lighting standards affect all future outdoor lighting installations in residential, agricultural and commercial zones. No changes will have to be made to current lighting in the town’s zones, Simmons said.
“What’s here is here,” he said.
However, if a business upgrades its facilities or changes 50 percent or more of its parking lot illumination, the new ordinance applies, Simmons said.
The new ordinance states that the total light output of all lighting can’t exceed 100,000 lumens per net acre.
Lighting installed under canopies can only contribute 50 percent toward this limit. The brightness of digital signage must be measured from the brightest element of the sign’s face.
This doesn’t apply to such illumination as street lighting, outdoor display lots, or playing fields on public property.
The measure also addresses light direction and lighting control in residential, commercial and industrial zones as well as property used for governmental and public purposes. There are specific maximum light levels and permitted hours for all types of outdoor lighting.
In addition, the new ordinance specifies full-cutoff performance for all lighting in commercial and industrial zones and street lighting. Full cut-off means that the light distribution from a fixture is controlled and doesn’t spill into adjoining areas with glaring illumination.
However, the required lighting fully illuminates an area, such as a business, when someone enters a parking lot.
Prohibited outdoor lighting includes the use of a laser light source as well as flickering, flashing, blinking, scrolling or rotating lights and any illumination that changes intensity.
Also prohibited uses are architectural lighting of any portion of a building with a polished or glass exterior surfaces that uses uplighting, searchlights, the use of neon lights to accent buildings or architectural features, mercury vapor light sources except those for existing light sources used in open space zoning districts, upward directed lighting, except as otherwise permitted, and any illumination creating glare.
Exemptions include emergency lighting used by police, firefighting and medical personnel; underwater lighting illuminating swimming pools and fountains; lighting required by county, state or federal law; temporary lighting for holiday decorations; and decorative yard lighting that resembles a flame source.
Other exemptions are portable lighting used temporarily for maintenance or repair that’s not determined by the town or state to create a hazard or nuisance; and lighting approved by the town for temporary events such as carnivals, circuses, festival, picnics, fairs, civic events and exhibitions.
Town Attorney David Austgen said the ordinance provides for waiver applications to be submitted to the Winfield Plan Commission.