Ridgeland amends rules governing outside lighting; restrictions to limit impact

By NIKKI ROWELL,

The City of Ridgeland requires that all façade changes to a business be brought before the city’s Architectural Review Board. The board recently voted to amend the current architectural review ordinance.

“The board voted to amend the ordinance to have some control with how outside lighting is used in the city,” Mayor Gene McGee said. “We don’t want it to become a Las Vegas. We want to make sure that it is done in good taste.”

The original architectural review ordinance was adopted on January 18, 1994.

Mayor McGee and the Board of Aldermen decided to amend the architectural review ordinance to establish standards to govern the use of colored or tinted lights on building facades.

They found that the purpose of building façade lighting is to enhance the visual appeal of the property, as well as increase the capacity for visual surveillance.

The new ordinance outlines restrictions that are meant to limit the impact of the lighting onto adjacent properties.

Restrictions to colored or tinted building façade lighting include:

• Limited to MU-1 zoning classification and buildings with a minimum of 48 feet;

• Should not be allowed on any building located on a property within 400 feet from any residential property. This will be measured from closest point of property line to the closest point of the lighted building;

• Should not be allowed on a property within 400 feet from any school or church property unless a waiver is granted by said use;

• Must be 400 feet away from an interstate right-of-way;

• Should be limited to the architectural façade of the building and shall terminate at or before the top of said building or be directed downward;

• Should not be applied or appear on the lower 30 feet of any building. Measured from finished floor to first level to fixture;

• Maximum illumination on any vertical surface should not exceed five footcandles;

• Should not be applied to or appear on any roof and no bulb or fixture should be visible from any street or neighboring property from ground level.

 

The change comes after C Spire submitted a request to the architectural review board to allow for blue lights to be placed on the building’s façade.

C Spire employed Jason Ellis of Ellis Construction to draw up plans for 38 new light fixtures to be placed on the third level of the exterior of the building.

The issue with the project was that the proposed lights are blue, which would need approval from the board given the ordinance that requires all major changes to a business’ building to be brought before the architectural review board, then the Ridgeland Board of Aldermen.

The board voted to allow the lighting change to the C Spire building. They also voted to change the ordinance so that precedence is set if others look to make a similar change.

Forrest Ashworth, Director of Corporate Purchasing at C Spire, said in a previous interview with the Sun that the lighting would be an energy-efficient way to rebrand the C Spire headquarters on Highland Colony Parkway.

“It is an opportunity to market and rebrand our building,” Ashworth said. “The lighting is already there. We’re just looking for a way to highlight the C Spire brand.”

The board wanted to ensure that in the future if others submit requests for unique lighting displays, that they meet certain standards.

 

The amended ordinance will take effect 30 days after the date of adoption, which was Tuesday, July 17.

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