The Edmond Sun

February 1, 2014

OUR VIEW: Sign of the times arrives in Edmond

The Edmond Sun

EDMOND — It was nearly four years in the making, but three of the five Edmond City Council members found enough common ground to put an ordinance on the books that will allow Edmond businesses to have digital signage as part of their on-site marketing.

The long-awaited vote came after City Councilman Nick Massey led the charge to take an ordinance proposal from an appointed citizens committee and craft it into something that could attain a majority vote. City Councilwoman Victoria Caldwell and Mayor Charles Lamb joined Massey in approving the ordinance while Councilwoman Elizabeth Waner and Councilman Darrell Davis voted against it.

As we’ve previously argued, putting the electronic message center signs into ordinance is a much better way to govern and protect the city’s interests than allowing signs here and there under variances to the city’s code. Governing by variance inevitably winds up being unfair to some and not to others, creating an uneven playing field for our business community.

We believe the new ordinance approved in January allows the city to regulate for several citizen concerns including how quickly messages may change, brightness of lights and disallowing all animation at this time. While the ordinance is fairly restrictive on what businesses can do with this type of signage, they at least now have the option of improving their marketing if they so desire and can afford it. It’s important to remember that only businesses located along the city’s major business corridors will have the opportunity to add electronic messaging centers, eliminating concerns that they will intrude into neighborhoods.

And as a Planning Commission discussion about signage for a new OnCue gas station and convenience store at 33rd Street and Kelly illustrates, the ordinance is already working as planned. Even though the new store is being built after the passage of the digital sign ordinance, the size of the store’s proposed sign precludes it from having one. So either the company can opt for a much smaller sign — which is often the wish of many current and former city leaders — or it can obtain a sign at the maximum allowed but forfeit the opportunity for an electronic messaging center. Either way the business owner gets to make a legitimate choice based on its marketing needs and the city gets to maintain its standards.

We appreciate the City Council finally bringing this issue to a vote. We realize it was not an easy vote to take and that it remains unpopular with some in the community. But the ordinance is a way for the business community to know where it stands regarding signage in Edmond. That seems like a win-win to us.