Marshall County Lighting Ordinance
A few years back, park director Michael Stephan discussed the need for a county light pollution ordnance with Troy Kiefer, the previous Marshall County Plan Director. As a presumed result, a section on exterior lighting standards was included in the new zoning ordinance that became effective November 1, 2007.
The purpose of the lighting section is to provide standards for outdoor lighting that protect the public safety and the general welfare of the community by reducing unsafe and unpleasant lighting conditions, such as light trespass and light pollution, while also promoting the safe and efficient movement of vehicles and pedestrians and the security of local properties.
The complete Zoning Ordinance can be downloaded here.
The section on lighting standards is reprinted below:
050 Exterior Lighting Standards
The purpose of this Chapter is to provide standards for outdoor lighting that protect
the public safety and the general welfare of the community by reducing unsafe and
unpleasant lighting conditions, such as light trespass and light pollution, while also
promoting the safe and efficient movement of vehicles and pedestrians and the
security of local properties.
B. General Requirements
All exterior lighting shall conform with the following general requirements:
1. General Design Standards
All exterior lighting should generally conform to the guidelines of the latest
version of the Illuminating Engineering Society of North America Lighting
2. Mounting Height Measurement
For the purposes of this Chapter, the mounting height of all light fixtures shall
be defined as the vertical distance between the grade level of the surface being
illuminated and the bottom of the lighting fixture (luminaire).
3. Use of Timers/Dimmers
Wherever practicable, exterior lighting shall include timers, dimmers, and/
or sensors to reduce overall energy consumption and eliminate unneeded
4. Electrical Service
The electrical service to all outdoor lighting fixtures shall be underground,
unless the fixtures are mounted directly on utility poles.
5. Holiday Lighting
Holiday lighting shall be exempt from the provisions of this Chapter, provided
that such lighting does not, in the opinion of the Zoning Administrator, create
dangerous glare on adjacent streets and properties. All holiday lighting can be
placed no more than thirty (30) days prior to, and shall be removed no more
than thirty (30) days after the holiday for which it was displayed.
6. Prohibited Lighting
The use of spot lights, floodlights, and searchlights shall be prohibited unless
otherwise specific in this Chapter.
C. Parking Lot Lighting Requirements
Parking lot lighting shall be designed to provide the minimum lighting necessary to
ensure adequate vision and comfort in parking areas while avoiding glare and direct
illumination of adjacent properties or streets. All parking lot lighting requirements
shall also apply to interior drives and other areas on the property used by vehicles.
1. Lighting Fixtures
All lighting fixtures providing illumination for parking lots shall be ninety (90)
degree cut-off fixtures directed downward at the parking lot surface.
County, Indiana Zoning Ordinance
2. Maximum Mounting Height
The maximum mounting height for all parking lot illuminating light fixtures shall
be consistent with the following table:
|Table 6-A Maximum Lighting Heghth|
|Maximum Mounting Height||
D. Gasoline Station/Convenience Store Requirements
Lighting levels on gasoline/convenience store aprons and under canopies shall
be adequate to facilitate the activities taking place on the property, and shall not
be used for the purpose of illuminating signs. Such lighting shall conform with the
1. Pump-Area Lighting
Lighting fixtures on canopies shall conform to either of the following
a. all light fixtures mounted on the canopies shall be recessed so that the lens
cover is recessed or flush with the bottom surface (ceiling) of the canopy,
b. the lighting of the canopy shall use indirect lighting through which light is
beamed upward and then reflected down from the underside of the canopy
by light fixtures that are shielded so that illumination is focused exclusively
on the underside of the canopy.
2. Canopy Lighting
Lights shall not be mounted on the top or sides of any gas station canopy and
the sides of the canopy shall not be illuminated. In no instances shall this be
interpreted as prohibiting the placement of signs on the canopy which are
illuminated consistent with the standards for sign illumination in this Chapter.
E. Lighting of Exterior Display/Sales Areas
Lighting levels on exterior display/sales areas shall be adequate to facilitate the
activities taking place in such locations. Such lighting shall conform with the following
1. Lighting Fixtures
All lighting fixtures used to illuminate exterior display/sales areas shall be 90
degree cut-off fixtures (luminaires) focus directly downward onto the display/
sales area. Such light fixtures shall be located, mounted, aimed, and shielded
so that direct light is not cast onto adjacent streets or properties.
2. Fixture Height
In no case shall fixtures be mounted at a height greater than twenty (25) feet
3. Fixture Location
All lighting fixtures and mounting poles shall be located within the areas being
F. Lighting of Outdoor Athletic/Performance Facilities
Lighting for all outdoor athletic and performance facilities and events shall provide
adequate light for the event or facility while minimizing light pollution and the
illumination of adjacent streets and properties.
1. Play/Performance Area Lighting
Lighting fixtures for the playing fields and/or performance areas shall be
specifically mounted and aimed so that their beams fall directly within the
play/performance area and its immediate surroundings and does not spill onto
adjacent streets or properties.
G. Security Lighting
Except in A-1 and A-2 Zoning Districts, security lighting shall be coordinated with
other lighting on the property to the extent possible and shall otherwise conform
with the following requirements:
1. Non-residential Lighting Fixtures
All security lighting in non-residential areas shall be shielded and specifically
aimed so that illumination is directed only to the intended area. The light source
for any security lighting shall include shields that prevent their light source or
lens from being visible from adjacent properties or and/or streets. The use of
general floodlighting fixtures shall be prohibited. Security lighting fixtures may
be mounted on poles located no further than ten (10) feet from the perimeter
of the area intended to be illuminated.
2. Residential Lighting Fixtures
Security lighting fixtures in residential areas shall make use of indirect and
reflected lighting techniques to provide soft lighting under canopies, entry
porches, or soffits.
3. Illuminated Areas
Any security lighting shall only illuminate vertical surfaces (walls, doors, etc.)
up to a height of eight (8) feet from either grade level or the bottom of any
illuminated door or entryway, whichever is greater.
4. Perimeter Lighting
Security lighting intended to illuminate a perimeter, such as a fence line, shall
include motion sensors and be designed to be off unless triggered by an intruder
located within 5 feet of the perimeter.
H. Lighting of Building Facades
With the exception of public buildings, institutional buildings (churches, schools,
colleges, etc.), and those listed in the National Register of Historic Places; and/
or listed in the Indiana Register of Historic Sites & Structures, exterior building
facades shall not be illuminated. Any illuminated facades shall meet the following
1. Lighting Fixtures
Lighting fixtures shall be located, aimed, and shielded so that light is directed
only onto the building facade. Lighting fixtures shall not be directed toward
adjacent streets or roads.
2. Lighting Direction
Lighting fixtures shall be designed to wash the façade of the building with light
(rather than providing a spot or floodlight affect) and shall be directed downward
onto the facade from the upper portions of the structure (rather than upwards
onto the facade from the ground).
I. Illuminated Signs
All illuminated signs shall only be illuminated when the business being identified
is open for business. All illuminated signs shall also conform to the following
1. Externally Illuminated Signs
Lighting fixtures illuminating signs shall be located, aimed, and shielded so that
light is directed onto only the sign face. Lighting fixtures shall not be aimed
toward adjacent streets, roads, or properties, and shall be of a type such that
the light source (bulb) is not directly visible from adjacent streets, roads, or
properties. All fixtures external to the sign used to illuminate it shall be mounted
on the top of the sign, directing light downward onto the face of the sign. Lights
located on the ground, or at the base of the sign directing light upward shall be
2. Internally Illuminated Signs
Internally illuminated signs shall be composed of light lettering, symbols, etc.
on a dark background. Light sources shall be fluorescent tubes behind the sign surface material.
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