The Edmond Sun

Local News

July 15, 2014

Council sends proposed sign ordinance to ballot

EDMOND — A proposed measure that would repeal an electronic sign ordinance passed by the Edmond City Council soon will be on a ballot.

In January, the City Council voted 3-2 to allow electronic signs in commercial zoning districts. Councilwoman Elizabeth Waner and Councilman Darrell Davis voted against the item.

Under the ordinance, electronic message signs will be allowed in all zoning districts along arterial streets, as defined in the Master Transportation Study. These corridors are on Broadway, Second Street going east to Interstate 35, West Edmond Road and 33rd Street from Broadway to Boulevard.

After the action, three ex-Edmond mayors filed an initiative petition against the panel’s recent approval of the electronic sign ordinance. Randel Shadid, Dan O’Neil and Saundra Naifeh had 90 days to collect 634 signatures to send the issue to a vote of the people. Signatories had to be Edmond residents.

Monday evening, City Council members considered initiative petition 01-14, which asks that an ordinance amending Title 15 of the city’s municipal code adding a new chapter prohibiting electronic message centers on signs and repeal any conflicting ordinance.

Businesses would have to continue to ask for a variance if the initiative petition succeeds in bringing voters to reject the new sign ordinance.

City Attorney Steve Murdock said based upon the city clerk’s review sufficient signatures have been submitted, the ballot title is in proper form and no protest or appeals have been filed.

City Council members approved by a 5-0 vote a motion directing city staff to include the proposal on the upcoming general election ballot. No citizens supported or opposed the proposed proposition during Monday’s meeting and there was no debate among council members.

Options for members were to adopt the proposed ordinance or submit it to voters at the next general election, which is April 7, 2015. City staff sought direction from the council on how to proceed.

In a previous report, Naifeh said the electronic message sign ordinance decreases the high standards the city has used to regulate signage. The ordinance will have a considerable effect on the appearance of the city, Naifeh said.

“As a group, we feel strongly that allowing electronic message signage is a complex issue and, once this ordinance is instituted, we can’t go back,” Naifeh said at the time. “Our plan is to let the people of Edmond decide what they want for their city.”

Councilman Nick Massey has been a proponent of the sign ordinance because he believes it will bring more economic development to the community. In the same previous report, Massey said he wonders how former elected officials would have felt if their decisions were challenged by citizens attempting to overrule a City Council vote via a repeal initiative.

marks@edmondsun.com | 341-2121, ext. 108

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