The Commercial-News, Danville, IL

October 27, 2012

Commission continues look at sign regulations

BY JENNIFER BAILEY
Commercial-News

DANVILLE — The Danville Area Planning and Zoning Commission will again consider sign regulation changes in the city this month.

Commission members last month continued a public hearing until November on a rezoning petition requested by the city’s zoning administrator that Chapter 150 of the city code, known as the Danville Zoning Ordinance, be amended to make various changes to the signage regulations in Article 7 of the ordinance.

The changes include allowing animated signs in the B4 Central Business Zoning District for properties on which the use is classified as a public use.

Commission members last month brought up questions about animated or flashing signs, such as at Schlarman Academy and several churches.

Commissioners asked about possibly regulating the brightness; the distance the signs should be from the public right of way and intersections with red, green and other lights; and if there should be height restrictions.

Freestanding signs, permanent signs not attached to a building, were allowed prior to 2008 in the central business zoning area, from Williams to Main streets and a four-block section east to west including the downtown area.

The ordinance language would mean the city, county, library or another public entity could put up a sign on a public-owned and public use lot. Business owners in the downtown area could not, a factor commission chairman Pat O’Shaughnessy also questioned. Last month he asked why public and private uses should be different.

Danville Planning and Zoning Manager Chris Milliken said the city doesn’t want to see 15 to 20 animated signs in the downtown area, to help preserve its character.

A city sign could state public messages and help advertise downtown events and other activities involving businesses, he said.

The proposed ordinance changes also would incorporate new wording that would prohibit animated signs being only red or green in color within 150 feet of a traffic-controlled intersection and not everywhere as the language states today.

A provision of the signs being 50 feet from the public right-of-way would be removed.

Milliken said some of the sign regulations from a 2008 ordinance revision weren’t included in the final version of the new ordinance.

Freestanding signs were allowed prior to 2008 in the central business zoning area, from Williams to Main streets and a four-block section east to west including the downtown area. The intent was to continue to allow the signs, and allow the ability to animate or illuminate the signs. The 2008 ordinance also didn’t contain provisions for freestanding identification signs for non-residential uses, such as for churches and schools, in residential areas that the ordinance had contained prior to 2008, according to Milliken.

The change would again allow for such signs.

The ordinance changes also would incorporate new wording that would prohibit animated signs being predominately red or green in color within 150 feet of a traffic-controlled intersection and not everywhere as the language states today.

The changes would not create any new non-conforming signs and would make 50-60 existing signs conforming again, according to Milliken.

It was noted last month too, that if more regulations are put onto animated signs, more could be placed into non-conformance with city ordinances.

There are about a dozen animated signs now near traffic signals.

In other business, the commission will discuss and review additional information concerning animated/electronic signage and review and discuss proposed changes to variance regulations and to the makeup of the zoning board of appeals.

COMING UP

The Danville Area Planning and Zoning Commission members will meet at 5:15 p.m. Thursday in the municipal building, 17 W. Main St.