Council approves amended ordinance to allow electronic signs

REED CITY — Businesses who wish to embrace technology to advertise and display their products now have the opportunity to do so within Reed City.

During the June 16 Reed City Council meeting, council members voted to adopt an amended ordinance, which formerly prohibited electric signs within city limits.

The amendment defines electronic signs as “… capable of displaying words, symbols, figures or images that can be electronically changed or mechanically changed by remote or automatic means … a unit of luminance equal to one candela (a unit of luminous intensity) per square meter."

The ordinance outlines electronic sign regulations and requirements, such as signs having a single color background; have a lit and unchanged message for a minimum of 10 seconds; should not have audio output, have a scrolling message from only one direction, should have an automatic dimming capability that automatically adjusts to the brightness level during the day and night; should not appear to “flash, undulate, pulse, portray explosions, fireworks flashes of light, or blinking or chasing lights, move toward or away from the viewer, expand or contract, bounce, rotate, spin, twist or engage in other similar movements.”

In addition, the ordinance language takes residents into consideration. It states the sign cannot continue the display between 11 p.m. and 6 a.m. if located in or within 150 feet of a residential zone and cannot exceed a maximum illumination of 5,000 nits (a measure of luminance intensity) during daylight hours and a maximum illumination of 200 nits between dusk and dawn.

Reed City Manager Ron Howell said he believes the amended ordinance means progress.

"I think it's important because we're acknowledging the technology is available now," he said. "Local government has a responsibility to be supportive but also have reasonable guidelines."

To help business owners apply with ease, Howell said he will be drafting a form or type of "check off list" for those interested.