Commission recommends sign ordinance changes

Herald file photo
Holiday Liquors in Jasper has an electronic variable message sign, which are included in proposed changes to the city's sign ordinance.


JASPER — After months of changes and debate, the Jasper Plan Commission favorably recommended on Wednesday night a list of changes to the city’s sign ordinance. The proposed changes now go to the Jasper Common Council for final adoption.

Among the previously most contested language in recent drafts were requirements regarding vehicles used as signs and electronic variable message signs.

Vehicles used as signs

Like past drafts, the recommended changes include the prohibition of the parking of or using vehicles as signs in all zoning districts. That includes the parking of any vehicle between the right-of-way line and any public street; and the front line of a building and the front line of the lot, whichever area is greater.

A list of exceptions would apply, however. Notably, a motorized vehicle that can fully fit within a standard parking space, containing signs painted on or permanently affixed on the doors or integral body panels, is exempt from the requirement.

The restriction would also not apply to vehicles actively involved in the construction on or serving of a site; delivering products to a site and parked temporarily in designated loading areas, including but not limited to those vehicles parked for staging; parked in designated truck parking areas of a site or development that have been screened from or are not generally visible from the public right of way; parked on sites where parking is not available 150 feet or more from the public right of way.

In such cases, vehicles supporting signage shall be located as far as possible from the public right of way.

Electronic Variable Message Signs

Also like previous drafts, signs that flash, scroll, twirl, change color, fade in or out, display changeable copy, or imitate movement in any manner are prohibited in the recommended ordinance language changes.

Should the board authorize the use of any future electronic variable message signs through variances and for any currently authorized, however, a list of standards were included in the changes.

Messages on electronic variable message signs can scroll onto screens and they can scroll off of them. The time allowed for any given message including the scrolling, shall not be less than five seconds, the language reads. The signs shall not otherwise turn any illumination on and off more frequently than five seconds.

The ordinance changes also say that the light intensity of the signs shall not cause glare, and that signs shall be equipped with adjustable light sensors capable of adjusting light intensity according to ambient light levels.

Already installed electronic variable message signs that cannot comply with the new requirements would not be impacted by the new language.

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