Village of Richfield, WI
Washington County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Village Board of the Village of Richfield 8-21-2008 by Ord. No. 08-08-03 (Ch. 63 of prior Code). Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Building construction — See Ch. 135.
Signs — See Ch. 309.
Streets and sidewalks — See Ch. 324.
Subdivision of land — See Ch. 330.
234a Figs 1 to 7 Outdoor Lighting

§ 234-1 Purpose and intent. [1]

The purpose of this chapter is to require and set minimum standards for outdoor lighting to:
A. 
Provide outdoor lighting to delineate roads, drives, parking areas, pedestrianways, buildings, and other organizational points where public health, safety and welfare are potential concerns.
B. 
Protect drivers and pedestrians from disabling glare of nonvehicular light sources.
C. 
Be an integral part of the overall architectural design; therefore, proposed lighting, whether freestanding or building recessed, shall complement the architectural character of the principal use.
D. 
Prevent unnecessary waste of energy and resources in the production of too much light or wasted light.
E. 
Prevent interference in the use or enjoyment of property which is not intended to be illuminated at night.
F. 
Protect the scenic view from increased urban skyglow.
G. 
Minimize light pollution, glare, and light trespass, and conserve energy while maintaining nighttime safety, utility, security, and productivity.
[1]
Editor's Note: Amended at time of adoption of Code (see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. II).

§ 234-2 Applicability.

A. 
New uses, buildings and additions. All proposed new land uses, developments, buildings, structures, or building additions of 25% or more in terms of gross floor area, seating capacity, or other units of measurement specified herein, either with a single addition or cumulative additions subsequent to the effective date of this chapter, shall meet the requirements of this chapter for the entire property. For all building additions less than 25%, the applicant shall only meet the requirements of this chapter for any new outdoor lighting provided.
B. 
Change of use/intensity. Except as provided in § 234-6D below, whenever the use of any existing building, structure, or premises is changed to a new use, or the intensity of use is increased through the incorporation of additional floor area, seating capacity, or other unit of measurement specified herein, and which change of use or intensification of use creates a need for an increase in the total number of parking spaces of 25% or more, either with a single change or cumulative changes subsequent to the effective date of this provision, then all outdoor lighting facilities shall meet the requirements of this chapter for the entire property, to the maximum extent possible as determined by the Planning and Zoning Administrator. For changes of use or intensity which require an increase in parking of less than 25% cumulative, the applicant shall only have to meet the requirements of this chapter for any new outdoor lighting provided.
C. 
Nonconforming lighting.
(1) 
Whenever a nonconforming use, structure, or lot is abandoned for a period of 12 months and kept as the same use or changed to a new use, then any existing outdoor lighting shall be reviewed and brought into compliance as necessary for the entire building, structure, or premises, to the maximum extent possible as determined by the Planning and Zoning Administrator.[1]
[1]
Editor's Note: Amended at time of adoption of Code (see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. II).
(2) 
No outdoor lighting fixture which was lawfully installed prior to the enactment of this chapter shall be required to be removed or modified except as expressly provided herein; however, no modification or replacement shall be made to a nonconforming fixture unless the fixture thereafter conforms to the provisions of this chapter.
(3) 
In the event that any nonconforming sign as to lighting is abandoned for a period of 12 months or is damaged, and if the damage exceeds 50% of the reproduction value, exclusive of foundations, to replace it, the sign shall be brought into conformance with the provisions of this chapter.[2]
[2]
Editor's Note: Amended at time of adoption of Code (see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. II).

§ 234-3 Conflicting regulations.

If at any time there is a conflict between the regulations set forth in this chapter and any other regulations applicable to the same area, the more stringent limitation or requirement shall apply.

§ 234-4 Approved materials and methods of construction or installation/operation.

A. 
The provisions of this chapter are not intended to prevent the use of any design, material, or method of installation or operation not specifically prescribed by this chapter, provided any such alternate has been approved by the Plan Commission.
B. 
The Plan Commission may approve any proposed alternative, provided that such alternative:
(1) 
Provides at least equivalence to the applicable specific requirements of this chapter; and
(2) 
Is otherwise satisfactory and complies with the intent of this chapter.

§ 234-5 Definitions.

For the purposes of this chapter, terms used shall be defined as follows:
CLASS 1 LIGHTING
All outdoor lighting used for, but not limited to, outdoor sales or eating areas, assembly or repair areas, advertising and other signs, recreational facilities, and other similar applications where color rendition is important.
CLASS 2 LIGHTING
All outdoor lighting used for security lighting where general illumination of the grounds is the primary concern.
CLASS 3 LIGHTING
Any outdoor lighting used for decorative effects, including but not limited to architectural illumination, flag monument lighting, and illumination of trees, bushes, etc.
CUTOFF
The luminous intensity at or above an angle of 90° above nadir (as measured directly below the lamp to the ground) does not exceed 2.5% of the luminous flux of the lamp or lamps in the luminaire, and the luminous intensity at or above a vertical angle of 80° above nadir does not exceed 10% of the luminous flux of the lamp or lamps in the luminaire.
DIRECT ILLUMINATION
Illumination resulting from light emitted directly from a lamp, luminary, or reflector, not light diffused through translucent signs or reflected from other surfaces such as the ground or building faces.
ESTABLISHMENT
Refers to all businesses, organizations, and institutions such as schools and churches, etc.
FIXTURE
The assembly that houses the lamp or lamps and can include all or some of the following parts: a housing, a mounting bracket or pole socket, a lamp holder, a ballast, a reflector or mirror, and/or a refractor or lens.
FLOOD OR SPOT LIGHTS
Any light fixture or lamp that incorporates a reflector or a refractor to concentrate the light output into a directed beam in a particular direction.
FOOTCANDLE (FC)
A standard unit of illumination.
FULL CUTOFF
The luminous intensity at or above an angle of 90° above nadir is zero, and the luminous intensity at or above a vertical angle of 80° above nadir does not exceed 10% of the luminous flux of the lamp or lamps in the luminaire (see attached figures).[1]
FULLY SHIELDED FIXTURE
A fixture that is shielded in such a manner that light rays emitted by the fixture, either directly from the lamp or indirectly from the fixture, are projected below a horizontal plane running through the lowest point on the fixture where light is emitted (see attached figures).
GLARE
The stray unshielded light striking the eye that may result in:
A. 
A nuisance or annoyance glare such as the light shining into the window;
B. 
Discomfort glare such as bright light causing squinting of the eyes;
C. 
Disabling glare such as bright light reducing the ability of the eyes to see into shadows; or
D. 
Reduction of visual performance.
HEIGHT OF LUMINAIRE
The vertical distance from the ground directly below the center line of the luminaire to the lowest direct-light emitting part of the luminaire.
HOLIDAY LIGHTING
Refers to strings of individual lamps, where the lamps are at least three inches apart and the output per lamp is not greater than 15 lumens.
LAMP
Refers to the component of a luminaire that produces the actual light.
LIGHT POLLUTION
The adverse effect of man-made light, including but not limited to discomfort to the eye or diminished vision due to glare, light trespass, uplighting, the uncomfortable distraction to the eye, or any man-made light that diminishes the ability to view the night sky.
LIGHT SOURCE
A singular point from where light originates, which is typically a lamp within a luminaire.
LIGHT TRESPASS
Spill light falling over property lines that illuminates adjacent grounds or buildings when it is not required to do so.
LUMEN
Refers to the unit used to quantify the amount of light energy produced by a lamp at the lamp. Lumen output of most lamps is listed on the packaging. For example, a sixty-watt incandescent lamp produces 950 lumens while a fifty-five-watt low-pressure sodium lamp produces 8,000 lumens.
LUMINAIRE
A complete lighting unit, consisting of a lamp or lamps together with the parts designed to distribute the light, to position and protect the lamps and to connect the lamps to the power. When used, includes ballasts and photocells. Commonly referred to as "fixture."
OUTDOOR LIGHTING
The artificial illumination of an outside area or object.
OUTDOOR RECREATIONAL FACILITY
Refers to an area designated for active recreation, whether publicly or privately owned, including but not limited to parks, baseball diamonds, soccer and football fields, golf courses, tennis courts, and swimming pools.
SKYGLOW
The overhead glow from light emitted sideways and upwards. Skyglow is caused by the reflection and scattering of light by dust, water vapor, and other particles suspended in the atmosphere. It reduces one's ability to view the night sky.
TEMPORARY LIGHTING
Lighting which may not conform to the provisions of this chapter and which will not be used for more than one thirty-day period within a calendar year. Temporary lighting is intended for uses which by their nature are of limited duration, e.g., holiday decorations, civic events, or construction projects.
TOTAL OUTDOOR LIGHT OUTPUT
The maximum total amount of light, measured in lumens, from all outdoor light fixtures on a property. For lamp types that vary in their output as they age (such as high-pressure sodium and metal halide), the initial output, as defined by the manufacturer, is the value to be considered.
ZONE 1
Refers to all properties located east of State Highway 175.
ZONE 2
Refers to all properties located west of State Highway 175.
[1]
Editor's Note: The figures are included at the end of this chapter.

§ 234-6 Lighting plan.

A. 
General. At the time any exterior light is installed or substantially modified, and whenever a development-related application is made to the Planning and Zoning Administrator, an exterior lighting plan shall be submitted. The Planning and Zoning Administrator shall review the plan prior to Plan Commission approval to determine whether the requirements of this section have been met and that adjoining property will not be adversely impacted by the proposed lighting.
B. 
All applications shall include:
(1) 
A site plan indicating the proposed location of all outdoor lighting fixtures showing footcandles. A lighting photometric plan must be drawn with a recognized engineering or architectural scale, indicating the location of the luminaire(s) proposed, mounting and/or installation height in feet, the overall illumination levels (in footcandles) and uniformities on the site, and the illumination levels (in footcandles) at and to exceed the property boundary lines to 100 feet. This may be accomplished by means of an isolux curve or computer printout projecting the illumination levels.
(2) 
A description of each illuminating device, fixture, lamp, support, and shield, including the number of lumen outputs. This may include manufacturer's catalog cuts and drawings, and lamp types.
(3) 
Other information that the Planning and Zoning Administrator may deem necessary to ensure compliance with this chapter.
C. 
Post-approval alterations to lighting plans or intended substitutions for approved lighting equipment shall be submitted to the Village for review and approval.
D. 
Exemptions. All residential lots are exempt from submitting a lighting plan if the property is at or below a total of 10,000 lumens per net acre, with the proposed lumens indicated in a lighting report and/or lighting plan. (Example: Five one-hundred-watt standard incandescent light bulbs would be exempt from submitting a lighting plan.) This is not intended to exempt new residential developments that are proposing streetlighting or lighted signage.

§ 234-7 Lighting requirements.

Lighting must comply with the following general requirements:
A. 
Height of light poles. Parking lot lighting poles shall be sized in such a manner that the top of any luminary does not exceed 30 feet above adjacent grade.
B. 
Residential lighting. Freestanding luminaires on private property in residential zones shall be mounted at a height equal to or less than the sum of H = (D/3) +3 where D is the distance in feet to the nearest property boundary, but shall not be higher than 15 feet from ground level to the top of the luminaire, whichever is less. Examples:
Pole Height
Distance to Property Line
15 feet
36 feet (36/3 = 12 + 3 = 15)
12 feet
27 feet (27/3 = 9 + 3 = 12)
9 feet
18 feet (18/3 = 6 + 3 = 9)
C. 
Light fixtures. The requirements for lamp source and shielding of light emissions for outdoor light fixtures are as follows:
(1) 
Class 1, 2, and 3 lighting:
Lamp Type
Shielding
All lamp types above 2,050 lumens
Only fully shielded allowed
All types below 2,050 lumens
Unshielded allowed
All neon tube lighting
Unshielded allowed
Lamps in motion sensing security lights
Unshielded allowed
NOTES:
1.
Examples of lamp types 2,050 lumens and below:
a.
One-hundred-watt standard incandescent and less.
b.
One-hundred-watt midbreak tungsten-halogen (quartz) and less.
c.
Twenty-five-watt T-12 cool white fluorescent and less.
d.
Eighteen-watt low-pressure sodium and less.
2.
Lights shall be shielded whenever feasible to minimize light spilled into the night sky or adjacent properties. Unshielded lights are limited to a maximum of 5,500 lumens per net acre.
D. 
Outdoor light output. Total outdoor light output, excluding streetlights used for illumination of public rights-of-way, of any development project shall not exceed 100,000 lumens per net acre in Zone 1 and 50,000 lumens per net acre in Zone 2, averaged over the entire property. The Plan Commission may exercise discretion in regards to lumens per net acre if there are concerns of safe lighting conditions.
E. 
All light fixtures which are required to be shielded shall be installed in such a manner that the shielding complies with the definition of fully shielded fixture (see attached Figures 2 and 4 on Chart 2) and must have a fixed nonadjustable mounting.[1]
[1]
Editor's Note: The figures are included at the end of this chapter.
F. 
Class 1 lighting, including but not limited to commercial, industrial, and park and recreation areas, may only continue in operation until 10:00 p.m. or for as long as the area is in active use, whichever is later, unless a different time restriction was placed on the property through a conditional use permit or lighting plan approval.
G. 
Class 2 lighting shall have no time restrictions except as specified by the Plan Commission for new projects at the time of lighting plan approval.
H. 
Class 3 lighting, except for flagpole lighting, must be extinguished by 10:00 p.m. or when the establishment closes, whichever is later, except that low-wattage holiday decorations may remain on all night from November 15 to January 15.
I. 
Multiclass lighting, except for security lights, must conform to the time limitations of the strictest class.
J. 
Signs. Lighting used internally or externally for all signs shall comply with the following provisions:
(1) 
Lighting used for externally illuminated signs shall conform to all restrictions of this chapter, shall be fully shielded, and shall be turned off by 10:00 p.m. or when the establishment closes, whichever is later.
(2) 
Outdoor internally illuminated advertising signs shall either be constructed with an opaque background and translucent letters and symbols or with a colored (not white, cream, off-white, yellow or other light color) translucent background, with either translucent or opaque letters and symbols. Opaque means only that the material must not transmit light from the internal illumination source; the color of such opaque backgrounds is not restricted by this section. Lamps used for internal illumination of such signs shall be included in the lumens per net acre limit. All illuminated signs shall be turned off at 10:00 p.m. or when the establishment closes, whichever is later.
(3) 
All provisions of Chapter 309, Signs, of the Code of the Village of Richfield must also be followed.
K. 
Search lights, laser source lights, or any similar high-intensity light shall not be permitted, except by law enforcement and other governmental agencies in pursuit of their official duties.
L. 
Outdoor floodlighting by floodlight projection above the horizontal plane is prohibited.
M. 
Canopy lights, such as service station lighting, shall be fully recessed or fully shielded so as to ensure that no light source is visible from or causes glare on public rights-of-way or adjacent properties.
N. 
Motion sensing lighting fixtures shall be properly adjusted, according to the manufacturer's instructions, to turn off when detected motion ceases.
O. 
Maximum allowance for light trespassing.
(1) 
The intensity of illumination projected onto a residential zoned use from another property shall not exceed 0.1 footcandle, at any location on any residential property, as measurable from any orientation of the measuring device.
(2) 
In no case shall illumination levels from any outdoor light fixture(s), individually or combined, measure above 0.2 footcandle, at the neighboring property line zoned for nonresidential uses, as measureable from any orientation of the measuring device.
(3) 
The Plan Commission may exercise discretion in regard to light trespass into public rights-of-way if it is determined to be beneficial to safe lighting conditions of adjacent sidewalks or other public areas.

§ 234-8 Special uses: outdoor recreational facility.

A. 
Lighting, in all cases, for all outdoor athletic fields, courts, tracks or ranges shall be considered Class 1 (color rendition). Lighting allowed in this section shall be subject to approval by the Plan Commission. The installation shall also limit off-site spill (off the parcel containing the sports facility) to a maximum of 0.5 footcandle at any location on any nonresidential property, and 0.1 footcandle at any location on any residential property, as measurable from any orientation of the measuring device.
B. 
Illumination of the playing field, court, track, or range shall be permitted only during the time(s) approved in the conditional use permit. Fully shielded lighting shall be required for fields designed for amateur, recreational or nonprofessional sports activity. For professional level sports facilities where fully shielded fixtures are not utilized, acceptable luminaires shall include those which:
(1) 
Are provided with internal or external glare control louvers, or both, and installed so as to minimize uplight and off-site light trespass.
(2) 
Are installed and maintained with aiming angles that permit no greater than 2% of the light emitted by each fixture to project above the horizontal.

§ 234-9 Streetlighting dedication.

When streetlighting is to be dedicated to the Village, the applicant shall be responsible for all costs involved in the lighting of streets and street intersections until the street is accepted for dedication.
A. 
Prior to dedication and in the event of the formation of a homeowners' association and/or property management declaration, the Village shall require said agency to enter into an agreement guaranteeing the Village payment of all costs associated with dedicated streetlighting.
B. 
Assumption of costs of dedicated streetlighting. Following installation of the streetlights, the Village may charge the homeowners' association, individual property owners, or corporations for the subdivision, as may be necessary, to collect all revenues required that are directly or indirectly associated with costs of installing, maintaining, or repairing each specific streetlighting fixture. If the charges are imposed on an entity and not paid, the Village may charge the lot owners in the subdivision on a pro rata basis. If such charges are not paid by any lot owner within the period fixed by the Village, the charges shall become a lien upon the lot owner's lot as provided in § 66.0627, Wis. Stats., and shall be extended upon the tax roll as a delinquent tax against the lot owner's lot as provided in § 66.0627, Wis. Stats.

§ 234-10 Streetlighting in residential developments.

A. 
Intent. This section is established to set forth a policy for determining when a streetlight is desirable for identifying the entrance to a residential subdivision, taking into consideration the desire to preserve the Village's rural character. Developments in the walkable hamlet district shall follow the requirements listed for that district.
B. 
The Village will consider existing topography, location, and whether the intersection will be identified by other means, i.e., illuminated subdivision sign(s), reflective signage and/or ambient light. Streetlights will only be considered at subdivision entrances. The Village will require the developer to install a light if one or more of the following criteria are met:
(1) 
The intersection is located in an area where, after considering potential future developments, a significant increase in traffic volume may occur.
(2) 
The intersection is located on a hill or sharp curve or where visibility is poor.
(3) 
The new intersection is located in an area where numerous traffic accidents have occurred at or near the proposed intersection.
(4) 
The intersection is located in an area where there is or may be significant pedestrian traffic and traffic speed poses a potential hazard.
(5) 
Illumination in areas adjacent to the intersection adversely affects the driver's vision.
C. 
Type of fixture. If a streetlight is required the light must be fully shielded and should follow the standards set forth in the Village's highway construction standards.
D. 
Decision. Village staff (consisting of Planning and Zoning Administrator, Engineer, and Highway Superintendent) shall recommend to the Village Board whether there is a need for a streetlight, or alternative means of identification [i.e., illuminated subdivision sign(s) and/or reflective signage], at entrances to residential subdivisions. If additional guidance is required, the issue may be sent to the Plan Commission for recommendation.
E. 
Installation.
(1) 
The developer will pay the installation cost of streetlights, or the alternative selected means of identification, in new developments.
(2) 
The streetlight must be installed prior to final plat approval, unless agreed otherwise by the Village Board pursuant to a developer's agreement and financial guarantee.
F. 
Existing residential developments. Residents of an existing subdivision, for which there is currently no streetlight at the entrance, may petition the Village Board to install a streetlight. Streetlights will only be considered at subdivision entrances. The Village Board will use the criteria listed in Subsection B to determine if a light is needed. The cost of installing and maintaining the light may be charged to the property owners within that subdivision, as follows:
(1) 
Prior to installation of the streetlight, the Village shall require the homeowners' association, individual property owners, or corporations for the subdivision, as appropriate, to enter into an agreement guaranteeing the Village payment of all costs associated with the streetlighting.
(2) 
Following installation of the streetlights, the Village may charge the homeowners' association, individual property owners, or corporations for the subdivision, as may be necessary, to collect all revenues required that are directly or indirectly associated with costs of installing, maintaining, or repairing each specific streetlighting fixture. If the charges are imposed on an entity and not paid, the Village may charge the lot owners in the subdivision on a pro rata basis. If such charges are not paid by any lot owner within the period fixed by the Village, the charges shall become a lien upon the lot owner's lot as provided in § 66.0627, Wis. Stats., and shall be extended upon the tax roll as a delinquent tax against the lot owner's lot as provided in § 66.0627, Wis. Stats.

§ 234-11 Light measurement.

A. 
Metering equipment. Lighting levels shall be measured in footcandles (fc) with a direct reading, portable light meter. The meter shall be read within an accuracy of plus or minus 5% as measured from any orientation of the measuring device.
B. 
Method of measurement. The meter sensor shall be mounted at the interior line of the buffer yard or at the property line, as required herein. Readings shall be taken only after the cell has been exposed long enough to provide a constant reading. In order to eliminate the effects of moonlight and other ambient light, a minimum of three measurements shall be made after dark with the questionable light source. The average of the measurements shall be compared to the maximum permitted illumination permitted in this chapter.
C. 
The Village reserves the right to conduct a post-installation nighttime inspection to verify compliance with the requirements of this chapter and, if appropriate, to require remedial action at no expense to the Village.

§ 234-12 Compliance monitoring.

A. 
Safety hazards. If the Village judges a lighting installation to create a safety or personal security hazard, the person(s) responsible for the lighting shall be notified and required to take remedial action within a specified time frame. If appropriate corrective action has not been effected within 30 days of notification, the Village may levy a fine for as long as the hazard continues to exist.
B. 
Nuisance glare and inadequate illumination levels. When the Village judges that an installation produces unacceptable levels of nuisance glare, skyward light, excessive or insufficient illumination levels or otherwise varies from this chapter, the Village may cause notification of the person(s) responsible for the lighting and require appropriate remedial action to retrofit the lighting installation in accordance with this chapter.

§ 234-13 Installation.

A. 
Electrical feeds for lighting shall be run underground, not overhead.
B. 
Lighting standards in parking areas shall be placed a minimum of five feet outside paved area, or on concrete pedestals at least 30 inches high above the pavement, or suitably protected by other approved means.

§ 234-14 Violations and penalties. [1]

Each violation of any provision of this Chapter 234 shall be subject to the penalties and remedies described in § 1-3 of this Code.
[1]
Editor's Note: Amended at time of adoption of Code (see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. II).