The Edmond Sun

Local News

June 11, 2013

City Council rejects 2010 sign advice

EDMOND — EDITOR’S NOTE: Part I of this story appeared in Tuesday’s edition of The Sun.

The City Council rejected recommendations by the 2010 Sign Ordinance Review Committee at a public workshop this week. Whether the City of Edmond will permit businesses to use electronic message center signage remains in the dark for the foreseeable future.

Revising the current ordinance would have allowed an expanded commercial use of EMC without businesses having to request a variance.

Three former mayors — Saundra Naifeh, Randel Shadid and Dan O’Neil — spoke against updating the current sign ordinance.

“You have an ordinance in place and the digital sign is not part of what Edmond has approved in its ordinances,” Naifeh said. “In fact you made a choice to grant a variance.”

Individual reasons already have taken into account for EMC variances already approved by the council, Naifeh said.

City Councilman Nick Massey told The Edmond Sun that he is disappointed that the  council could not work toward a compromise position with regard to electronic message center signage.

“Edmond is a thriving modern community and it is time to move Edmond into the 21st century with modern day signage,” Massey said. “When done properly and tastefully, having EMC signage does not diminish quality of life in Edmond and in fact makes us a more modern city.”

The current sign ordinance defines three corridors to allow larger square footage and taller signs up to 25 feet in height and 77 square feet. These corridors are on Broadway, Second Street going east to Interstate 35, West Edmond Road and 33rd Street from Broadway to Boulevard, said Bob Schiermeyer, city planner. Ground signs include monument signs, he added.

The committee’s recommendations included:

• EMC allowed only on ground signs, no EMC wall signs.

• EMC allowed on signs that fully comply with all current standards in the code, these include height, square footage, side yard setback, landscaping, pole cover and all other structural requirements. This will prohibit non-conforming signs from being converted to EMC signs.

• A 30-second static text message with a transition of two seconds between messages. All products offered must be sold on the property, no off-premises advertising.

•  No more than 50 percent of the maximum square footage of the sign allowed will be EMC signs.

• Daytime NITS: 6,500; Nighttime NITS: 500. NITS shall be certified by an engineer for the permit.

Non-conforming signs adapted to EMC standards would continue to be non-conforming signs, Mayor Charles Lamb said. The LED lighting would be increased during the daytime and could be made dimmer at night, said Jim Gleason of Superior Neon Signs.

“Most of my clients probably favor electronic signs. I do not, never have, never will,” said Shadid, an attorney who represents business interests before the council. Shadid helped to craft the current sign ordinance during his two terms as mayor from 1991-95.

“I just think they’re traffic hazards; they’re eyesores,” Shadid said. “People tell you it enhances business. I do not believe that. I oppose the clutter, the distraction of electronic signs.”

O’Neil said the I-35 corridor will be Edmond’s downtown for the next century. Care is needed in developing it, he added. People will shop here because Edmond has quality standards, O’Neil said.

“We’re not very good about regulating things after the fact. It just doesn’t happen,” O’Neil said. “Whose going to be the NIT guard of the NIT police.”

Someone with a business plan and love for a business in their own town will make their business work for them,” said Naifeh, former owner of a gift shop.

“I think what you’re talking about instead of a sign ordinance is an advertising ordinance,” Naifeh said. “Let’s be really clear — this is about advertising and the amount of messages that we would like to put out to the public.”

If clutter and safety is a problem with EMC, they would be already be banned everywhere, said Justin Booher of Vital Signs of Edmond.

“I think what we need to do is find a happy medium, a balance between residential and commercial,” Booher said.

Businesses don’t want the time-consuming effort of inserting big letters on outdated signs, said businessman Dave Thomas, owner of Thomas Supply Center. His sign is getting old, he said. Thomas can spend $10,000 updating his existing sign that is based on 1950s technology or wait for the city to join 21st century with modern signage, he said.

“My advantage is I could sit safely at my desk even if it’s raining outside,” Thomas said. “… I could safely change the sign to whatever we have for sale that day.”

Edmond resident Ronnie Williams said Edmond is a unique place. Looking like every other town with a “video canyon” would be contrary to maintaining the quality of life that residents expect of Edmond, Williams said.

“The last thing I want to do is live somewhere where I drive through a canyon of lights,” Williams said.

Massey said the council’s lack of decision making is detrimental to business and economic development. Instead of now having a workable ordinance that everyone can live with, businesses must continue bringing their variance requests, one at a time, before the city council.

“This is time consuming and will create even more confusion and lack of continuity. I hope we will find a way to consider this again in the future,” Massey said.

Lamb said he favors preparing the language of an EMC ordinance for the council to approve or not.

“I’m not willing to deal with changes,” Lamb said. “But, I’m at the point in saying that it seems to me we need to draw up whatever rules we’re comfortable with and go from that point.”

Lamb directed city staff to look into hiring a special consultant to address EMC and provide information for the council to consider a “dark sky ordinance” in town. The consultancy would also provide information for I-35 sign standards.

“I am especially concerned about the clutter, especially when you throw in the graphics, not just the letters,” said Elizabeth Waner, city councilwoman.

Light is a concern as well the possibility of having EMC signs create clutter by allowing them every 25 feet, Waner said. Long-term maintenance of the signs could be a problem, she said. An unleveled playing field would result if some businesses don’t have the money to afford the signs, Waner said.

“I think it is going to be a headache for the community to enforce,” Waner said. The city would have to monitor the EMC within 48 hours of placement, she said.

City Councilman Darrell Davis agreed with Waner that enforcing EMC codes would be costly and problematic. More information is needed about the impact of light illumination creep in Edmond, he said. Lamb said maintaining dark skies is especially important east of I-35.

“I understand from a business perspective the need, the desire,” Davis said. “I’m looking at it from a city perspective, the things we have to deal with.”

Massey agreed with O’Neil that churches should be omitted from EMC use. It would not be fair for churches outside areas zoned for EMC not to be able to benefit from a new ordinance, he said.

“I do think though that five to eight seconds, or 12 seconds, is too fast,” Massey said of pauses before light display would change.

City Councilwoman said she would be comfortable if EMC would be limited to once-a-day changes. Changing the ordinance would permit every business on Broadway the eventual use of EMC lighting, she said.

“I’m also uncomfortable with graphics,” Caldwell said. “… If I can see a gallon of milk with price, then I can also see boxer shorts with price, mainly on a model or something. I don’t want to have to figure out a way to monitor that.” | 341-2121

Text Only
Local News
  • jc_OUChuck Spicer.jpg OU Medical Center expands with new ER

    OU Medical Center Edmond is expanding its services. A new freestanding OU Medical Center Emergency Department will be built at the Veranda Shopping Center, Lisa Wilson, CEO of OU Medical Center Edmond, announced Thursday.
    The emergency department will be located just outside the border of the City of Edmond at Northwest 150th Street and Western. Construction costs are estimated at $5.5 million.

    April 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Nick and Karen 2.JPG Massey speaks to Summit Rotary

    Council member Nick Massey, standing here with Edmond Sun Publisher Karan Ediger, spoke to Summit Rotary Tuesday on the subject of the City’s electronic sign laws. Summit Rotary Club meets at 7 a.m. Tuesdays at Oklahoma Christian University, 2501 E. Memorial Drive. For more
    information about the club, call 405-CUEARLY.

    April 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Keep these tips in mind for May gardening

    Here are a few things to keep in mind as you head into your May gardening routine. Keep ahead of the weeds. We are always happy for the rain, but wet ground can keep us out of the garden and that allows weeds to grow by leaps and bounds. Now is the time to guard tender plants such as tomatoes, eggplant and peppers against sudden late frosts. During the first part of May you may be planting beans, early corn, okra and late potatoes. You also may be replacing tomato plants lost to late frosts. Finish setting out cabbage, lettuce, cauliflower, beets, etc.
    Here are some things to do:

    April 24, 2014

  • Jurors hear evidence in mercy killing murder trial

    Testimony is underway in the trial of a Logan County man accused of murdering his wife by placing a plastic sack over her head and causing her to suffocate.
    On June 13, 2013, Logan County District Attorney Tom Lee filed a first-degree murder charge against Mark Schemm, 53, of Crescent, who told an OSBI agent in court records he killed Monica Schemm, his wife, because she asked him to kill her.

    April 24, 2014

  • Man faces civil suit in motorcycle fatality

    A local man awaiting disposition of a criminal charge stemming from the death of an Edmond motorcyclist now faces a civil suit, court records show.
    On Sept. 24, 2013, Edmond Police Officer Milo Box was dispatched on a call regarding a collision at the Santa Fe-Country Wood Lane intersection, according to the report filed by Box.
    Box stated Daniel Bricker, 54, of Deer Creek, was traveling northbound in the inside lane of Santa Fe while Erron Heise, 39, the motorcycle driver, was stopped and waiting to turn left onto Country Wood Lane.

    April 24, 2014

  • Sheriffs accuse state of ducking out on prisoner promises

    State efforts to save time and money by shuffling prisoners more swiftly through the system are riling local sheriffs who are losing money because of the efficiency program.
    A change in Department of Corrections practice is landing a “significant hit” on two-thirds of Oklahoma counties, which depend on reimbursements to house state inmates locally, said Ken McNair, executive vice president of the Oklahoma Sheriffs’ Association.
    “The sheriffs are now in a position where they have to make adjustments to their budgets,” he said.
    Sheriffs converged on the Capitol on Tuesday, filling the Senate gallery, in part to protest efforts to remove inmates from their custody. The change will cost the sheriffs — but save the state — millions each year.

    April 24, 2014

  • OK officials account for disaster spending

    Nearly a year after deadly tornadoes hit central Oklahoma, officials announced that they have spent close to $9.4 million in private donations on relief efforts.

    April 24, 2014

  • north 1.jpg U.S. News ranks city high schools in state’s Top 10

    All three Edmond high schools are ranked among the Top 10 in the state in a prestigious national list.
    U.S. News & World Report, which publishes annual rankings, ranked Edmond North No. 3 in Oklahoma and No. 437 nationwide. Memorial ranked No. 6 in Oklahoma and No. 847 nationwide. Santa Fe ranked No. 8 in Oklahoma and No. 1,075 nationwide.
    “This recognition serves as validation for our students, parents and staff members at all levels who work together relentlessly in pursuit of academic excellence, Edmond Public Schools Superintendent David Goin said.

    April 23, 2014 2 Photos

  • OC expands to 5 academic colleges

    Oklahoma Christian University will expand from three to five colleges beginning with the 2014-15 academic year.
    OC’s five academic colleges will be the College of Biblical Studies, the College of Business Administration, the College of Engineering and Computer Science, the College of Liberal Arts and the College of Natural and Health Sciences.
    “Our academic and leadership teams have been planning, praying and discussing how to build on OC’s legacy of exceptional success in science, engineering and business,” said Scott LaMascus, vice president for academic affairs. “Our new colleges will focus on growth in these areas and implement strategic planning to help us serve more students.”

    April 23, 2014

  • N Front Door 3.jpg FBI seeks suspect in robbery of local bank

    Police and FBI agents are investigating the robbery of a local bank by a suspect wearing a fake mustache and goatee, a spokesman said.
    FBI Special Agent Martinus McConnell said the robbery occurred Tuesday morning at the Arvest Bank, 2025 Sonoma Park, Edmond.

    April 23, 2014 2 Photos

Featured Ads
NDN Video
Grumpy Cat Not Impressed at "Idol" Is Shaquille O'Neal the World's Best Ex-Athlete? Raw: Obama Plays Soccer With Japanese Robot Behind The Tanlines Jersey Strong Part 2 BASE Jumpers Set World Record Screaming 2-year-old gets psyched at Penguins game Pineda: Put pine tar because he didn't want to hit anyone Beyonce on Her Biggest Influence Michael Strahan's First Day on "GMA" Clerk catches on fire after man throws Molotov Cocktail into Brooklyn store Amazon's Deal With HBO Leapfrogs Streaming Rivals Stephen Colbert Tells David Letterman His Plan for 'Late Show' Georgetown police officer filmed tripping students Viral: It's Not Pitbull - It's Amy Poehler! Recycling Highlights for Earth Day Lupita Nyong'o Named People's 'Most Beautiful' Peeps Launched into Outer Space NYPD's Twitter Request For Photos Backfires New HBO Go Commercials Capture Awkward Family TV Watching Raw: Leopard Bites Man in India

Do you agree with a state budget proposal that takes some funds away from road and bridge projects to ramp up education funding by $29.85 million per year until schools are receiving $600 million more a year than they are now? In years in which 1 percent revenue growth does not occur in the general fund, the transfer would not take place.

     View Results