Here is the council lawyer's memo (by the way, Jane Alvis is a registered lobbyist with Lamar Advertising, a sign company that would profit from BZA allowance of LEDs in neighborhoods) with the third section on allowances for LEDs in neighborhoods highlighted:
METRO COUNCIL OFFICESign-industry-cozy CM Charlie Tygard's previous attempts to allow industrial zoning LEDs in residential and mixed-use zones was vigorously and widely opposed by neighborhood associations and community leaders who argued that neighborhoods should be protected and excepted from the visual blight of bright flashing LEDs.
M E M O R A N D U M
TO: Jane Alvis and Burkley Allen
FROM: Jon Cooper
Director and Special Counsel
SUBJECT: Proposed Electronic Display Sign Ordinance Summary
DATE: December 1, 2008
The purpose of the ordinance is to clarify where electronic display signs can be erected and to add certain requirements/restrictions on the use of these signs.
First, the ordinance adds a definitio n of “electronic display sign” in the Zoning Code. The ordinance essentially defines such signs as on-premises signs that display electronic, static images that can be changed by electronic means on a fixed screen composed of a series of lights (including LEDs). The image on such signs must remain static for a minimum of 8 seconds (as is currently required in the Zoning Code), and the change from one image to another must be instantaneous. These signs would not be allowed to include animated graphics, audio, scrolling messages, or video images.
Second, the ordinance clarifies where these type signs are permitted by right. Such signs would be permitted by right in the commercial and industrial zoning districts only, and would be required to meet the following standards:
1. The sign must be setback at least 300 feet from another electronic display sign.
2. The sign must have a static display of at least 8 seconds with no dissolving or fading of an image or text, and no appearance of flashing light or video images.
3. The intensity and contrast of light levels must remain constant. If the sign face is visible to any residence, the sign must use automatic nighttime dimming software.
4. The size of such sign would be limited to 75% of the maximum sign area for a traditional sign.
Third, the ordinance would provide a mechanism for the Board of Zoning Appeals to allow electronic display signs in residential, mixed-use, and office districts as a special exception use. The Board of Zoning Appeals would be required to grant a special use electronic sign permit for churches, schools, recreation centers, and cultural centers located in residential zoning districts only if all of the following requirements are satisfied:
1. The sign must be setback at least 1,000 feet from another electronic display sign.
2. If the sign is located within 150 feet of a residential lot, no portion of the sign face can be v isible from an existing residence on that lot.
3. The sign must have a static display of at least 8 seconds with no dissolving or fading of an image or text, and no appearance of flashing light or video images.
4. All portions of the sign message must use an amber color.
5. The intensity and contrast of light levels must remain constant and the sign must use automatic nighttime dimming software.
6. The size of such sign would be limited to 75% of the maximum sign area for a traditional sign.
For property located within the multi-family, mixed-use, and office districts, the Board of Zoning Appeals would be required to grant a special exception permit to any use permitted under the base zoning district as long as all of the above conditions are satisfied.
And rightfully so, because once allowance is made for restricted signs in neighborhoods, a precedent is set for future allowances that heap even more blight on those communities. The new LED ordinance looks like the proverbial camel's nose under the proverbial tent, and worse, that tent is sent sprawling down the proverbial slippery slope by the BZA.