Lighting Ordinance


Presque Isle Township Outdoor Lighting Ordinance


WHEREAS, unnecessary and improperly designed or aligned light fixtures cause glare, light pollution, light trespass and wasted energy resources; and,

WHEREAS, glare and light pollution can result in: hazardous orientation conditions for all modes of transportation and for nocturnal wildlife migrations; the diminishing ability to view and enjoy the night sky; nuisance light trespass onto adjacent property; an unattractive township environment; and,

WHEREAS, the people who live in Presque Isle Township value both their privacy and the natural environment, including the beauty and high quality of the night sky; and,

WHEREAS, the Township of Presque Isle, Michigan is a destination retirement, resort, and rural community, economically dependent upon tourists and part-time residents, and is dependent upon its natural resources and environment to attract tourists and part-time residents; and,

WHEREAS, the Township of Presque Isle, Michigan desires to protect the health, safety and welfare of the residents, tourists, motorists and general public, and to protect the environment of the night sky that adds to the quality of life and economic well being of the Township; and,

WHEREAS, these regulations for exterior lighting will not limit the amount of light that property owners shine onto their own property, nor sacrifice the safety of our citizens or visitors, nor the security of property, but instead will result in safer, more efficient and more cost-effective lighting.


NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT ORDAINED BY The Board of Trustees of the Township of Presque Isle, Presque Isle County, Michigan:


1.1 Title – This Ordinance together with the amendments thereto, shall be known and may be cited as the Presque Isle Township Outdoor Lighting Ordinance.

1.2 Purposes – The general purpose of this Ordinance is to protect and promote the public health, safety and welfare, the quality of life, environmental resources, the conservation of energy and the ability to view and enjoy the dark night sky, by establishing regulations and a process of review for exterior lighting. This Ordinance establishes standards for exterior lighting in order to accomplish the following:

A. To prevent light trespass in all areas of the Township from improperly selected or poorly aimed, placed, applied, maintained or shielded light sources

B. To protect and reclaim the ability to view and enjoy the night sky, and thereby help preserve the quality of life for both residents, visitors and tourists;

C. To protect against direct glare and excessive lighting along roadways;

D. To promote efficient and cost effective lighting;

E. To ensure that sufficient lighting can be provided where needed to promote safety and security;

F. To allow for flexibility in the style of lighting fixtures;

G. To provide lighting resource guidelines;

H. To provide informational assistance to property owners and occupants in bringing nonconforming lighting into conformance with this Ordinance.

1.3 Scope – All exterior lighting installed after the effective date of this Ordinance in any and all zoning districts in Presque Isle Township shall be in conformance with the requirements established by this Ordinance and any other applicable ordinances. All existing lighting installed prior to the effective date of this Ordinance in any and all zoning districts in Presque Isle Township shall be addressed as follows:

A. All existing lighting located on a subject property that is part of an application for a Presque Isle Township Planning Commission Site Plan Review, Special Land Use, Site Condominium, Planned Unit Development or Subdivision Permit is required to be brought into conformance with this Ordinance. Conformity shall occur prior to issuance of a Zoning Permit Certificate of Occupancy, Final Inspection, or Final Plat Recordation, when applicable. For other permits, the applicant shall have a maximum of thirty (30) days from date of permit issuance to bring the lighting into conformance.

B. All existing exterior commercial lighting that is not in conformance with this Ordinance shall be brought into conformance with this Ordinance within 6 months from the date of adoption of this Ordinance.

C. All existing monument lighting that does not meet the requirement of this Ordinance shall be brought into conformance within 90 days of official notification

D. All existing exterior residential lighting, not affected by (A) and (C) above, that does not comply with this Ordinance is required to be brought into conformance with this Ordinance within 90 days from the date of adoption of this Ordinance

E. In the event of a discrepancy in applicable ordinances, the most restrictive shall apply.

F. Enforcement of existing lighting that is not in conformance with this ordinance shall be initiated by written and signed complaint of a property owner or occupant to the Zoning Administrator. Enforcement may also be initiated by Township or public safety officials in cases where glare or light trespass occurs on public property.


Unless specifically defined below, words or phrases used in this Ordinance shall be interpreted so as to give them the meaning they have in common usage and to give this Section its most reasonable application.

2.1 Area Light – Light that produces over 1800 lumens (See Table 2 for Light Output of Various Lamps). Area lights include, but are not limited to, street lights, parking lot lights, barn lights and yard lights.

2.2 Average Footcandle – The level of light measured at an average point of illumination between the brightest and darkest areas. The measurement can be made at the ground surface or at four to five feet above the ground.

2.3 Ballast – A device used with a discharge lamp to obtain the necessary voltage, current, and/or wave form for starting and operating the lamp.

2.4 Official – Any member of the Presque Isle Township Board of Trustees, any member of the Township Planning Commission or the Township Zoning Administrator

2.5 Bulb – The source of electric light. To be distinguished from the whole assembly (See Luminaire).

2.6 Candela (cd) – The candela is a unit of luminous intensity, i.e. the power emitted by a light source in a particular direction. A common candle emits light with a luminous intensity of approximately one candela.

2.7 Commission – The Presque Isle Township Planning Commission.

2.8 Eighty-five (85) Degree Full Cut-Off Type Fixtures – Fixtures that do not allow light to escape above an 85 degree angle measured from a vertical line from the center of the lamp extended to the ground. (See Figure 2).

2.9 Existing Lighting – Any and all lighting installed prior to the effective date of this Ordinance.

2.10 Exterior Lighting – Temporary or permanent lighting that is installed, located or used in such a manner to cause light rays to shine outside. Fixtures that are installed indoors that are intended to light something outside are considered exterior lighting for the intent of this Ordinance.

2.11 Fixture – The assembly that holds the lamp in a lighting system. It includes the elements designed to give light output control, such as a reflector (mirror) or refractor (lens), the ballast, housing, and the attachment parts.

2.12 Flood Light – Light that produces up to 1800 lumens (See Addendum 1 for Light Output of Various Lamps) and is designed to “flood” a well-defined area with light. Generally, flood lights produce from 1000 to 1800 lumens.

2.13 Flux (radiant flux) – Radiant power (radiant energy per unit of time) is the measure of the total power of electromagnetic radiation ( including infrared, ultraviolet, and visible light). The power may be the total emitted from a source, or the total landing on a particular surface. Unit is erg/sec or watts.

2.14 Foot-candle – Illuminance produced on a surface one foot from a uniform point source of one candela. Measured by a light meter.

2.15 Full Cut-Off Fixtures – Fixtures, as installed, that are designed or shielded in such a manner that all light rays emitted by the fixture, either directly from the lamps or indirectly from the fixture, are projected below a horizontal plane running through the lowest point on the fixture where light is emitted. (See Figure 1).

2.16 Glare – Intense light that results in discomfort and/or a reduction of visual performance and visibility.

2.17 Holiday Lighting – Festoon type lights, limited to small individual bulbs on a string, where the spacing of bulbs is not closer than three inches and where the output per bulb is no greater than 15 lumens. Strobe lights and lasers are not permitted.

2.18 IESNA – Illuminating Engineering Society of North America (IES or IESNA) – The professional society of lighting engineers, including those from manufacturing companies, and others professionally involved in lighting.

2.19 Illuminance – Density of luminous flux incident on a surface. Unit is footcandle or lux.

2.20 Lamp – The source of electric light: the bulb and its housing. To be distinguished from the whole assembly (See Luminaire).

2.21 Light – The form of radiant energy acting on the retina of the eye to make sight possible; brightness; illumination; a lamp, as defined above.

2.22 Light Pollution – Any adverse effect of manmade light including, but not limited to, light trespass, uplighting, the uncomfortable distraction to the eye, or any manmade light that diminishes the ability to view the night sky. Often used to denote urban sky glow.

2.23 Light Trespass – Light falling where it is not wanted or needed, generally caused by a light on a property that shines onto the occupied property of others.

2.24 Lighting – Any or all parts of a luminaire that function to produce light.

2.25 Lumen – Unit of luminous flux; the flux emitted within a unit solid angle by a point source with a uniform luminous intensity of one candela. One foot-candle is one lumen per square foot. One lux is one lumen per square meter.

2.26 Luminaire – The complete lighting unit, including the lamp, the fixture, and other parts.

2.27 Luminance – At a point and in a given direction, the luminous intensity in the given direction produced by an element of the surface surrounding the point divided by the area of the projection of the element on a plane perpendicular to the given direction. Units: candelas per unit area. The luminance is the perceived brightness that we see, the visual effect of the illuminance, reflected, emitted or transmitted from a surface.

2.28 Non-Essential – Lighting that is not necessary for an intended purpose after the purpose has been served. Does not include any lighting used for safety and/or public circulation purposes. Example: For purposes of this Ordinance, lighting for a business sign is considered essential during business hours, however, is considered non-essential once the business is closed.

2.29 Partially Shielded – The bulb of the fixture is shielded by a translucent siding and the bulb is not visible at all. Light may be emitted at the horizontal level of the bulb. (See Figure 3).

2.30 Zoning Administrator – The Presque Isle Township Zoning Administrator.

2.31 Recessed – When a light is built into a structure or portion of a structure such that the light is fully cut-off and no part of the light extends or protrudes beyond the underside of a structure or portion of a structure.

2.32 Shielded – When the light emitted from the fixture is projected below a horizontal plane running through the lowest point of the fixture where light is emitted. The bulb is not visible with a shielded light fixture, and no light is emitted from the sides of the fixture. Also considered a full cut-off fixture. (See Figure 1).

2.33 Temporary Lighting – Means lighting that is intended to be used for a special event for seven (7) days or less.

2.34 Uplighting – Lighting that is directed in such a manner as to shine light rays above the horizontal plane.


The Planning Commission and/or the Zoning Administrator shall have the authority to require new lighting, and existing lighting pursuant to Section 1.3 hereinabove, to meet the recommendations and guidelines, in addition to the requirements of this Ordinance.

3.1 All applications for Site Plan Review, Special Use Permits, Site Condominium Permits, PUD and Subdivision Permits shall include lighting plans showing location, type, height, and lumen output of all proposed and existing fixtures. The applicant shall provide enough information to verify that lighting conforms to the provisions of this Ordinance. The Zoning Administrator and/or the Planning Commission shall have the authority to request additional information in order to achieve the purposes of this Ordinance.

3.2 All exterior lighting shall be full cut-off fixtures with the light source shielded, with the following exceptions:

A. Luminaires that have a maximum output of 200 lumens per fixture, regardless of number of bulbs may be left unshielded provided the fixture has a solid cap or shield to prevent light from shining directly above the horizontal plane of the top of the bulb. (See Figure 4).

B. Luminaires that have a maximum output of 480 lumens per fixture, regardless of number of bulbs must be partially shielded, provided the bulb is not visible, and the fixture has a solid top to keep light from shining directly up. (See Figure 3).

C. Flood lights with external shielding may be angled provided that no direct projected light escapes above a 65 degree angle measured from the vertical line extended from the center of the light to the ground, or 25 degree measured from the horizontal line, and only if the light does not cause glare or light to shine on adjacent property or public rights-of-way. (See Figure 5). Flood lights with directional shielding are encouraged. (See Figure 6). Photocells with timers that allow a floodlight to go on at dusk and off by 11:00 p.m. are encouraged.

D. Holiday lights as defined in Subsection 2.17 are exempt from the requirements of this Ordinance for the six month period from November 15 to April 15, except that flashing holiday lights are prohibited on commercial properties. Flashing holiday lights on residential properties are discouraged. Holiday lights are encouraged to be turned off after midnight

E. Sensor activated lighting may be unshielded provided it is located in such a manner as to prevent direct glare and light projection into properties of others or into a public right-of-way, and provided the light is set to only go on when activated and to go off within five minutes after activation has ceased, and the light shall not be triggered by activity off the property.

F. Vehicular lights and all temporary emergency lighting needed by the Fire and Police Departments, or other emergency services shall be exempt from the requirements of this Ordinance.

G. Industrial quarry safety lighting for nighttime operations shall be exempt from the shielding requirements; nevertheless, the Township strongly recommends that, whenever possible, the quarry operators strive to conform to this ordinance by projecting light downward onto the work area, rather than upwards to the work area. Non-production lighting (office buildings, employee parking, etc.) shall conform to the Township Outdoor Lighting Ordinance.

H. Governmental Aids-to-Navigation are exempted from this Ordinance.

3.3 Light Trespass – Light emitted by a lighting installation, which extends beyond the boundaries of the property on which the installation is sited. It is the intent of this Ordinance to eliminate and prevent light trespass through the proper installation of lighting fixtures. All existing and/or new exterior lighting shall not cause light trespass and shall be such as to protect owners of adjacent properties from glare and unwanted lighting.

3.4 Trespass Illumination Levels The level of illumination projected onto a residential use from another property shall not exceed 0.1 initial vertical footcandle, measured line-of-sight at the property line. The level of illumination projected onto a non-residential use shall not exceed 1.0 initial vertical footcandle measured line of sight at the property line.

3.5 IESNA Guidelines – The Commission may require that any new lighting or existing lighting that comes before them meet the standards for footcandle output as established by IESNA.

3.6 All non-essential exterior commercial and residential lighting is encouraged to be turned off after business hours and/or when not in use. Lights on a timer are encouraged. Sensor activated lights are encouraged to replace existing lighting that is desired for security purposes.

3.7 Area Lights – All area lights, including yard lights, street lights and parking area lighting, shall be full cut-off fixtures and are required to be eighty-five (85) degree full cut-off type fixtures. “Barn lights,” aka “dusk-to-dawn lights,” shall not be permitted unless fitted with a hood, baffle, reflector or other device to render them fully shielded or full cutoff, except in rural areas where light trespass is not possible. Streetlights shall be high-pressure sodium, low-pressure sodium, or metal halide, unless otherwise determined by the Board of Trustees that another type is more efficient. Streetlights along residential streets shall be limited to a 70 watt high pressure sodium (hps) light. Street lights along nonresidential streets or at intersections shall be limited to 100 watts hps, except that lights at major intersections on state highways shall be limited to 200 watts hps. If the Planning Commission permits a light type other than high pressure sodium, then the equivalent output shall be the limit for the other light type (See Addendum 1). For example: a 100 watt high pressure sodium lamp has a roughly equivalent output as a 55 watt low pressure sodium lamp, or a 100 watt metal halide lamp.

Parking area lights are encouraged to be greater in number, lower in height and lower in light level, as opposed to fewer in number, higher in height and higher in light level. Parking lot lighting shall not exceed IESNA recommended foot-candle levels.

All freestanding area lights, except streetlights, shall be mounted at a height equal to or less than the value 3 + (D/3), where D is the distance in feet to the nearest property boundary. If light trespass occurs at the calculated height, it must be lowered to a height at which light trespass does not occur.

3.8 Luminaire Mounting Height – Free standing luminaires shall be no higher than 25 feet above the stand/pole base, except that luminaires used for playing fields shall be exempt from the height restriction provided all other provisions of this Ordinance are met and the light is used only while the field is in use, and except that street lights used on major roads may exceed this standard if necessary as determined by the Board of Trustees, as advised by a lighting engineer. Building mounted luminaires shall be attached only to walls, and the top of the fixture shall not exceed the height of the parapet or roof, whichever is greater.

3.9 Uplighting – Uplighting is prohibited in all zoning districts, except:

A. All temporary emergency lighting needed by the Fire and Police Departments, or other emergency services shall be exempt from the requirements of this Ordinance.

B. In cases where the fixture is shielded by a roof overhang or similar structural shield from the sky and ensures that the light fixture(s) will not cause light to extend upward beyond the structural shield and will not create light trespass onto neighboring property, and except as specifically permitted in this Ordinance.

C. Industrial quarry lighting is exempted for safety considerations.

3.10 Flag Poles – Upward flagpole lighting is permitted for governmental flags only, and provided that the maximum lumen output is 1300 lumens. Flags are encouraged to be taken down at sunset to avoid the need for lighting.

3.11 Service Stations – The average footcandle lighting level for new and existing service stations is required to be no greater than 30 foot-candles, as set by the IESNA for urban service stations.

3.12 Canopy Lights – All lighting shall be recessed sufficiently so as to ensure that no light source is visible from or causes glare on public rights-of-way or adjacent property.

3.13 Landscape Lighting – Lighting of vegetation is discouraged and shall be in conformance with this Ordinance. Uplighting is prohibited unless it is projected toward the wall of a dwelling and is shielded so that no light is projected above the soffit .

3.14 Towers – All radio, communication, and navigation towers that require FAA compliant lights shall have dual lighting capabilities. For daytime, the white strobe light may be used, and for nighttime, only red lights shall be used.

3.15 Temporary Lighting – Temporary lighting that conforms to the requirements of this Ordinance shall be allowed. Nonconforming temporary exterior lighting may be permitted by the Zoning Administrator only after considering 1) the public and/or private benefits which will result from the temporary lighting; 2) any annoyance or safety problems that may result from the use of the temporary lighting; and, 3) the duration of the temporary nonconforming lighting. The applicant shall submit a detailed description of the proposed temporary nonconforming lighting to the Zoning Administrator. The Administrator shall provide written notice of said request to owners of property immediately adjacent to the subject property. Said notice shall inform adjacent property owners they may comment on the request during a period of not less than ten (10) days after mailing of the notice and prior to final action on said request.

3.16 Neon Lights – Neon lights are only permitted pursuant to the Zoning Ordinance, Section 22.

3.17 Lasers – Lasers are prohibited as outdoor lighting, whether moving or stationary.

3.18 Blinking Lights – Strobe lights or lights that blink or simulate movement are prohibited, except for those lights covered under 2.17 above.

3.19 The attached figures and information sheets shall be incorporated into this Ordinance as guidelines for the public and the Township for use in meeting the intent of this Ordinance. The figures and information sheets only serve as examples. The Township does not endorse or discriminate against any manufacturer or company that may be shown, portrayed or mentioned by the examples.


4.1 Zoning Permit Applications shall include a statement asking whether the subject property of the proposed work includes any exterior lighting.

4.2 Within thirty (30) days of the enactment of this Ordinance, the Zoning Administrator shall send a copy of the Outdoor Lighting Ordinance with a cover letter to all local electricians and local electric suppliers listed in the local 2009 telephone books for Presque Isle and Alpena Counties.


5.1 The Township of Presque Isle will commit to changing all lighting on Township-owned property to meet the requirements of this Ordinance.

5.2 The Zoning Administrator and/or Planning Commission members will provide Township lighting guidelines to property owners and/or occupants to help correct any nonconforming lighting by consulting with the owner/occupant and providing diagrams and/or specifications of the required types of lighting permitted and/or alternative solutions which will bring the lighting into conformance.


6.1 Investigation shall be initiated by a neighboring property owner’s written nuisance complaint to the Zoning Administrator or by any Township official reporting a possible violation.

6.2 The Zoning Administrator and/or individual Planning Commission members will investigate all complaints and take foot-candle readings at the property line with a certified light meter device.

6.3 Safety Hazards

A. If appropriate officers or agents of the Township determine that a lighting installation, including lighting poles, creates a safety or personal-security hazard, the person(s) responsible for the lighting shall be notified in writing and required to take remedial action.

B. If appropriate corrective action has not been effected within ninety- (90) days of written notification, the Township may commence legal action as provided in Section 7 below.

6.4 Nuisance Glare and Inadequate Illumination Levels


A. When appropriate officers or agents of the Township determine by a certified light meter device that an installation produces unacceptable levels of nuisance glare, skyward light, excessive illumination levels or otherwise varies from this Ordinance, Township may cause written notification of the person(s) responsible for the lighting and require appropriate remedial action.

B. If appropriate corrective action has not been effected within ninety- (90) days of notification, the Township may commence legal action as provided in Section 7 below.

6.5 Evidence of Compliance

The Zoning Administrator may accept a photometric test report, demonstration or sample, or other satisfactory confirmation that the luminaire meets the requirements of the approved shielding classification.


7.1 Violations and Legal Actions – If, after investigation, the Zoning Administrator finds that any provision of this Ordinance is being violated, the Administrator shall give notice by hand delivery or by certified mail, return receipt requested, of such violation to the owner and/or to the occupant of such premises, demanding that the violation be abated within ninety (90) days of the date of hand delivery or of the date of mailing of the notice. The Planning Commission shall be available to assist in working with the violator to correct said violation. If the violation is not abated within the ninety (90) day period, the Administrator may institute actions and proceedings, either legal or equitable, to enjoin, restrain or abate any violations of this Ordinance and to collect the penalties for such violations.

7.2 Enforcement and Penalties

A. The violation by any person, corporation, or association of any provision of this ordinance is hereby designated as a municipal civil infraction.

B. The Presque Isle Township Supervisor and the Presque Isle Township Zoning Administrator are hereby designated as authorized local officials who shall administer and enforce this ordinance and who are authorized to issue municipal civil infraction citations.

C. “Municipal Civil Infraction” means a civil infraction as defined by Section 113 of the Revised Judicature Act of 1961, being Act No.236 of the Public Acts of 1961, as amended (the “Act”), involving a violation of this ordinance.

D. “Citation” means a written complaint or notice to appear in court upon which an authorized local official records the occurrence or existence of one or more municipal civil infractions by the person, corporation, or association cited (the “defendant”).

E. “Municipal Civil Infraction Action” means a civil action in which the defendant is alleged to be responsible for a municipal civil infraction.

F. A municipal civil infraction action may be commenced upon the issuance by an authorized local official of a citation directing the defendant to appear in court.

G. A citation shall be issued and served by an authorized local official in accordance with the provisions of Sections 8707 and 8709 of the Act.

H. A citation shall contain the information required under Section 8709 of the Act.

I. An authorized local official may issue a citation to a defendant if the official witnesses a defendant commit a violation of this ordinance; or if, based upon investigation, the official has reasonable cause to believe that the defendant is responsible for a violation of this ordinance; or if, based upon investigation of a complaint by someone who allegedly witnessed the defendant commit a violation of this ordinance, the official has reasonable cause to believe that the defendant is responsible for a violation of this ordinance, and if the Township attorney approves in writing the issuance of the citation.

J. Failure of the defendant to appear within the time specified on a citation or at the time scheduled for a hearing or appearance is a misdemeanor punishable by up to 90 days in jail and/or up to a $500.00 fine plus costs of the prosecution, and will result in entry of a default judgment against the defendant on the municipal civil infraction.

K. A defendant found responsible by the judge or magistrate for a violation of this ordinance shall pay a fine not to exceed $500.00 plus costs of not less than $9.00 nor more than $500.00, which are not limited to the costs taxable in ordinary civil actions and may include all expenses, direct and indirect, to which the Township has been put in connection with the municipal civil infraction, up to the entry of judgment. Except as otherwise provided by law, costs shall be payable to the general fund of the Township. In addition to ordering a defendant to pay a civil fine and costs, the court may issue and enforce any judgment, writ, or order necessary to enforce this ordinance, in accordance with Section 8302, 8729, and 8731 of the Act, as applicable.

L. If a defendant fails to comply with an order or judgment issued pursuant to Section 8727 of the Act within the time prescribed by the court, the court may proceed under Sections 8302, 8729, and 8731 of the Act, as applicable.

M. If a defendant does not pay a civil fine or costs or an ordered installment within 30 days after the date on which payment is due in a municipal civil infraction action brought for a violation involving the use or occupation of land or a building or other structure, the Township may obtain a lien against the land, building, or structure involved in the violation by recording a copy -of the court order requiring payment of the fine and costs with the register of deeds for the county in which the land, building, or structure is located. The court order shall not be recorded unless a legal description of the property is incorporated into or attached to the court order. A lien is effective immediately upon recording of the court order with the register of deeds. The court order recorded with the register of deeds shall constitute notice of the pendency of the lien. In addition, a written notice of the lien shall be sent by the Township by first- class mail to the owner of record of the land, building, or structure at the owner’s last known address. The lien may be enforced and discharged by the Township in the manner prescribed by Section 8731 of the Act.

N. Each day on which any violation of this ordinance continues constitutes a separate offense, and the offender shall be subject to the applicable fine, costs, penalties, and sanctions for each separate offense.

O. In addition to any remedies available at law, Presque Isle Township may bring an action for an injunction or other process against a defendant to restrain, prevent, or abate any violation of this ordinance.



The provisions of this ordinance are hereby declared to be severable, and if any clause, sentence, word, section, or provision is declared void or unenforceable for any reason by any court of competent jurisdiction, it shall not affect any of the remaining portions of this ordinance.


All Presque Isle Township ordinances or resolutions or parts thereof which are in conflict herewith are hereby repealed.


This ordinance shall become effective 30 days after its publication as required by law.

This ordinance shall be published once, in full, in a newspaper of general circulation within the boundaries of Presque Isle Township, and qualified under state law to publish legal notices, within 15 days after its adoption, and the same shall be recorded in the Ordinance Book of the Township, and such recording authenticated by the signature of the Township Clerk.