Excessive residential lighting addressed for first time
By Laura Katauskas
As new technology enters the market for homeowners, new regulations come into play.
After review of currently policy after an incident brought the issue to light, the village of Romeoville noted it did not have particular ordinances and has since put two new ordinances into practice.
The first creates illumination standards, copied in most part from other village’s best practices, setting standards to deal with excessive light complaints. The village currently has standards for commercial areas but not residential.
The ordinance addresses questions about glare, with an aim to prevent glare on adjacent buildings thus avoiding impact on neighboring properties. The ordinance states that outdoor light fixtures must have shields or angle control to prevent glare on adjacent property and streets.
Light spillage will also be taken into account, noting that the average maintained foot-candles cannot exceed 0.10. A foot candle, is the amount of light, if someone held a candle from a foot away.
“The standards are consistent with model codes and standards researched in surrounding communities,” said Community Development Director Steve Rockwell. “Basically this is so neighbors are not putting light in other neighbor’s windows.”
Mayor John Noak said such ordinances have been done for auto dealers but none for this type of lighting.
“We want to be careful with it and see how it works and how the implementation works,” said Noak. “I feel good moving forward with it but we also need to take our time to review it and see if we have to tweak it, if it is too strong or too weak.”
Village officials noted for the most part implementation will be complaint drivin, having a policy in place in case a situation arises.
In addition, the village wants to embrace solar and small wind energy sources and set standards for this as well.
“We need to accommodate alternative sources of energy with reasonable restriction for safety,” said Noak.
The village reviewed and modeled similar ordinances and consolidate to create a simple ordinance that states the a solar device,in general, is to have a maximum 30 degree or five feet tall height on a roof; and a wind source on the ground is to have 12-foot clearance between blades and the ground with a minimum setback of least 110 percent of system height. It also must have a non-reflective finish and be neutral in color;and one propeller per system per pole.
Trustee Dave Richards said, “We’ve addresses some of the issues here so a neighbor can’t just build an air-traffic-controller size device and sets some restrictions on what people can build next to you.”
Noak added, “We want to support alternative energy and just want it to be safe and reasonable.”