Seriously, if you do as is normal for incident metering and stick the meter "against the subjects nose" or you are "in the same light" incident metering works perfectly.
If my subject is under a street light and I'm under the next one down the street, I can even meter right where I'm at because the light is equivalent.
If my subjects are going to be walking by a certain spot: on a sidewalk past a street light, store front, whatever; I can walk into the scene (like the one you describe) and meter "the spots I want" then walk back to my chosen vantage point.
As to distance from subject, that actually doesn't matter. Correct exposure for a given subject within a scene, and I'm using the word "correct" very loosely, is the same regardles of distance; your clock or church tower should get the same exposure at 5-meters or 50, as far as the film is concerned it's luminance doesn't change.
What does matter is the subjects size within the composition, that is a real factor in determining camera exposure. At 5-meters the clock may define the exposure fully, at 50-meters with the same lens in play there are more things in view to consider.