Reed City Council to discuss ordinance amendment allowing electronic signage

REED CITY — Electronic signs within the limits of Reed City are currently prohibited, but that rule may change this month.

The Reed City Planning Commission looked at amending the rule, drafted an ordinance allowing the signs and approved it to go before the Reed City Council for a public hearing and possible vote at its next meeting, which will take place at 7 p.m. on Monday, June 16, at Reed City Hall, 220 W. Lincoln Ave.

"We needed to have guidelines for electronic signs because the issue going to come up one way or another," said planning commission member Trevor Guiles. "The amendment is to make the rules best for everybody. They have to be so it doesn't bother the neighbors and so it's safe for motorists."

As companies look for more advanced ways to advertise their services, the city needs to be pro-active so it can allow advancements that benefit both the community and the businesses, he added.

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 per square meter."

The drafted 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 during daylight hours and a maximum illumination of 200 nits between dusk and dawn.

"The Planning Commission deliberated on the amendment for months and finally just passed it," Guiles said. "I think we made sure that we got it right."