Last Updated: 8/17/2022
Here are all the outdoor lighting codes and ordinances in Wisconsin that I am aware of. A big thank you to Scott Lind, PE, of Hollandale, Wisconsin for initially putting together this list in 2007!
Please post a comment or contact me via email if you have additions or updates to this list.
See Section 10.085 Outdoor Lighting
See Section e Lighting Standards
New Glarus –map–
See Article XVIII Exterior Lighting Plans and Standards
See Section 17.211 Outdoor Lighting
See sections 9.02(7) Exterior Lighting, and 9.04(7) Exterior Lighting Plan
Sturgeon Bay –map–
See Section 20.12.(1)(b)12
See Section 17.0608 Lighting
Williams Bay –map–
See Section 15.03 Outdoor Lighting and Advertising Signs
The Wisconsin State Law Library maintains a comprehensive list of Wisconsin Ordinances and Codes. This will be a good resource for us to find additional outdoor lighting codes and ordinances to be added to this list, as well as to check your local government’s codes and ordinances in general.
It is interesting to note that nearly two-thirds of these ordinances are for suburban communities in very light-polluted metro areas. Another four ordinances are no doubt in place to help protect the Yerkes Observatory (Williams Bay, Geneva, Fontana-on-Geneva Lake, and Delavan). Where are the rural ordinances and dark sky preserves? Since there are very few remaining locations in Wisconsin where the night sky is truly dark, shouldn’t we be aggressively protecting those areas? Wouldn’t it be easier to save a pristine area than to restore an almost hopelessly polluted one? Another interesting point is that upscale suburban communities are much more likely to have a lighting ordinance than more affordable communities. Some subdivisions even exclude streetlights, but these are almost never places where most of us can afford to live.