Thursday, May 07, 2009

Jason Holleman Attempts to Get Some Stronger LED Regulations ahead of Charlie Tygard's Pro-LED Legislation

Below is some of the text of an e-mail that CM Jason Holleman sent to neighborhood leaders as a preemptive strike against neighborhood LED billboards that could be imposed with approval of Charlie Tygard's LED bill:
The bill is being co-sponsored by Councilmembers Barry, Page, Evans, LaLonde, McGuire, Jameson, Mitchell, and Cole. Currently, LED signs are allowed in several commercial zoning categories, as long as the sign is 100' away from the nearest residence. These signs are only subject to the general sign height requirements governing all signs. As a result, some of these signs are being placed on tall poles that cause them to substantially intrude on the use and enjoyment of residential property well in excess of 100' from the sign.

This issue became plainly clear to me when a large LED sign was recently placed on a 30' - 35' pole on White Bridge Road. I received numerous calls from nearby homeowners who were concerned that the height of this sign significantly extended the distance and impact of its light emission. I contacted the Metro Codes Department on behalf of these homeowners, but found that the sign was legal under the existing Metro Code requirements.

In an effort to address such situations, I have drafted the language below, which will regulate the height of LED signs near residences in zoning categories that currently allow such signs (my bill will NOT expand LED signs to new zoning categories). Under my proposal, LED signs 4' high or less must be at least 100' away from residentially zoned property. For every 1' (or portion thereof) in height beyond 4', the sign must be an additional 25' away from residentially zoned property.

While I understand that many homeowners would like to ban these signs completely, I am not sure that such regulation is viable at this time. I do, however, think that the proposal below represents a reasonable regulation of LED signs that will signficantly improve neighborhood quality of life while not eliminating the use of this new technology by business owners and institutions.

Section 1. That Section 17.32.050 of Title 17 of the Code of The Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County, Zoning Regulations, is hereby amended by deleting subsection G.2. and substituting in lieu thereof the following new subsection G.2.:

“2. Signs with any copy, graphics, or digital displays that change messages by electronic or mechanical means shall not be permitted in the CA, CS, CF, CC, SCR, IWD, IR and IG districts unless the following distance requirements are satisfied, based upon the overall height of the sign:
a. Signs four feet or less in height shall not be less than one hundred feet from any agriculturally or residentially-zoned property.
b. Each additional foot in height, or portion thereof, above four feet shall be setback an additional twenty-five feet from any agriculturally or residentially-zoned property. For example, a sign between five and six feet in height shall not be less than one hundred fifty feet from any agriculturally or residentially-zoned property.”
This looks like pragmatic legislation that assumes Charlie Tygard is going to beat neighborhoods in the battle of the light-emitting diodes, but still provides some kind of firewall so that residential areas can mitigate the risk of becoming Blade Runneresque with hyper-real billboards up in our faces in the places we call home. It looks better than going all in against Charlie Tygard, who has deep-pocketed segments of the business community behind him. At least someone is trying something to fight for neighborhoods in Metro Government.

1 comment:

  1. This looks like a good start, and I appreciate Holleman's efforts. I hate those fucking signs, and I live next to a church ... they don't seem like the kind of place eager to set one of these up, but who knows what the future holds.

    I just wish we could ban the things altogether.