Wrightstown village board passes lighting ordinance

Brian Roebke photo
Concrete curb work was completed on Clay Street in Wrightstown last week. MCC is scheduled to return next week to do the final grade and pave the road surface.

By Brian Roebke
Village of Wrightstown resident Bob Fandrey expressed some concern at a public hearing for the village’s new lighting ordinance last week. The ordinance passed unanimously after more than a year of study and discussion and Fandrey’s satisfaction.
“As a residential property owner in the village, my concern is about the safety of my property and I strongly feel that how this is worded from a residential standpoint is that it leaves a lot of vague areas on how potentially lighting may not be acceptable in this ordinance,” he said.
He said lighting is the safest way for him to protect his property and he would hate to lose that.
His biggest concern was the term “village staff” used to determine if the lighting was acceptable and he wondered who would be designated to do that.
“I don’t think it’s meant that anyone in the village can come to me and say that my lighting is objectionable or a nuisance,” he said.
Trustee Sue Byers said enforcement is normally done by a zoning administrator but the village doesn’t have one, so they left the enforcement broad.
“Travis told me that someone would have to lodge a complaint that my lighting was intruding on their yard, causing it to bleed through their windows, the designated person from the village would come out and take a look at it,” she said.
Village Administrator Travis Coenen told Fandrey that person would make the determination of the legality of it, and the point of the residential portion of the ordinance was to protect neighbors from strong lighting from people looking to see animals, for instance.
“It’s probably going to be myself or (Superintendent of Public Works) Andy Vickman,” he said.
Village resident Rick Savela said common sense goes a long way in adjusting light, noting today’s standard of LED lighting can be adjusted with shields to adjust the direction of the light.
“As a resident we’re trying to protect our night sky and light trespass from entering our homes,” he said, noting the end game is to have some control and have mutual respect.
The utility commission heard from Vickman about a possible 3 percent increase in the price of water since wholesale customers of Green Bay Water have received a 5.5 percent increase effective June 1. That subject will be discussed at the July 21 board meeting.
Coenen said the village will resume its events in August with cards and snacks on Aug. 25 at the village hall from 2-4 p.m. The movie in the park is Aug. 29 and the fall festival is Sept. 12.
Village Clerk Michelle Seidl said the state has supplied the village a $7.7 million increase in manufacturing operations from 2019 to 2020 in Brown County and $5.1 million in Outagamie County.
“That’s pretty impressive,” she said.
The village received its first grant award for $2,355.88 from the Wisconsin Elections Comm-ission to cover extra expenses for the year. She’s still working on a grant through FEMA.
She continues to mail absentee ballots, and requests are now coming in daily. She sent 562 ballots in the first mailing and there were more than 770 for the spring election.
She noted the commission, as well as a private organization, is sending out absentee ballot application forms, so that should increase the number of requests.
She reported the board of appeals heard a request of a resident to erect a garden shed-type accessory building on his residential property because he has a detached garage. The board felt that was a reasonable request and they plan to adjust the village ordinance to allow this for all conditions.
“We may have caused some hardship in older homes,” Coenen said. “Most of them have detached garages and we don’t allow a garden shed at all.”
Currently detached garages are considered accessory buildings.
Fire Chief Mike Schampers told the board his department’s involvement in a surprise special parade for former Wrightstown Fire Chief Gene Van De Hey in April received a full-page story in the state’s fire journal. Van De Hey is battling cancer and could not leave his home.
“We got exposure statewide to every fire department and firemen in the state with that,” he said.
The department has been asked several times to help people celebrate special events, particularly during the pandemic, and Schampers said they have been happy to do so.
He also told the board the department is slowly getting back to what was normal before the coronavirus pandemic hit in March. “We’re going to attempt it this month and see where it takes us,” he said.
Vickman noted Van Dyke Park looks really nice with a new backstop and new infield diamond mix and it’s been being used seven days a week for youth softball/baseball.
“It really spruced it up with very little money involved,” he said. “It’s kind of sweat labor. We’ve gotten a lot of nice compliments on that.”
The Mueller Park bathrooms have reopened after being closed for the pandemic and they are being cleaned every morning.
Vickman said Clay Street reconstruction is on schedule, with curb and driveway aprons being poured and landscaping being done this week. MCC returns the week of July 20 to do the final grade and pave the road surface.
“Overall I’m very happy with all three contractors that have done the work,” he said. “There have been no complaints and a lot of people have been very happy the project is moving forward.”