Residential Lighting Ordinance
To help establish outdoor lighting standards in Wheaton’s neighborhoods, in 2022 the City Council adopted a residential lighting ordinance. The goal of this ordinance is to help ensure that outdoor lights are not a nuisance to neighboring properties by establishing some minimal restrictions.
Key aspects of this ordinance include:
- Landscape lights and floodlights can’t be directed off your property.
- Light from your property’s light fixtures (such as coach light fixtures attached to your home near your front door or garage, catenary lights and post lights.) must have minimal spread beyond your property line onto adjoining private property. The established limit is that it cannot extend beyond .1 foot candle level onto adjoining private property.
- Security lights that use a motion-sensor must not be able to be activated by activity outside of your property line, and they can stay activated for a maximum of 5 minutes. For example, they can’t be activated by someone walking on the sidewalk (which is in the public right-of-way) or passing cars.
The ordinance also adopts a requirement for new residential construction to use International Dark Sky Association and/or Dark Sky-compliant outdoor lighting fixtures. These are fixtures that minimize glare and do not pollute the night sky. These types of fixtures are widely available as an option at commercial stores.
Some actions you can take if you find that your existing lights are not in compliance with the new ordinance include switching to a lower-wattage light bulb, changing the direction that landscaping/flood lights point, and adjusting the range or sensitivity of motion-activated lights. This ordinance is not intended to cause property owners to buy new fixtures or make significant changes; it’s simply intended to ensure that property owners are being a good neighbor by keeping light on their own property. We appreciate your cooperation to help be a considerate neighbor.