Business owners and others may finally get what they have been asking for after the Sign Code Task Force recommended the approval of digital LED signs as an advertisement tool.

Business owners and others may finally get what they have been asking for after the Sign Code Task Force recommended the approval of digital LED signs as an advertisement tool.

The recommendation was one of several proposed changes presented to the Blue Springs Planning Commission Monday night.

Above all requests, LED signs top the list, according to staff in the city’s Community Development Department. There are currently no allowances for such signs in the city, but that hasn’t stopped business owners from calling and asking the city to make the change.

“We get a lot of requests,” Jim Holley, assistant director of CDD, said.

Whether the City Council or the general public likes the idea is unknown at this point. The council will meet next Wednesday at 6:30 and a public hearing is scheduled on the issue.

There would be some restrictions if the signs were allowed: signs could only be monument signs and not pole signs, or rather signs with a solid base anchored to the ground; changing words on the sign face would have to hold, or remain stagnant, for at least six seconds and take no longer than two seconds to change; scrolling messages would be prohibited and there would be brightness standards; 33 percent of the monument sign would be permitted for the actual reader board, and each sign would have to come with a certificate of its performance capability and filed with the city.

Such signs could only be placed in commercial areas and not residential zones.

Commission members appeared pleased with the proposal, and Jeanie Lauer, who chaired the sign code committee and who is a City Council member, said she and committee members looked at other cities that allowed such signs when drafting their own rules and regulations.

Other recommendations given Monday include:

  Wall signs. Most of the changes involved criteria. Signs could only be 10 percent of the wall space and a maximum of 200 square feet of building frontage.

 

  Master sign plan. Changes would also be criteria in nature, including exempting a single tenant business owner from having to get permission from the city for a master sign plan change.

 

  Changeable copy sign. Illuminated from inside, such signs allow owners to manually change lettering, characters and illustrations. Proposals include prohibiting such signs in residential areas, though there would be an exemption for organizations like schools and churches with 75 parking spaces or more.

 

  Vehicles as signs. The proposed change would strengthen the current city law, specifically by prohibiting such vehicles (not delivery vans and/or moving vans) being placed on property he/she does not own. The proposal also defines in clearer language what vehicles could be used to carry signs.


Committee members admitted that this was the hardest of all sign code issues to approach.

“There is no perfect way of doing this,” Ken Billups Jr., a commission member and task force member, said.

Other proposed changes concerned design guidelines, which includes a reworking of the current ordinance language.

In the end, both Lauer and Holley said the new proposals would make the city, as compared to others in the Kansas City area, a more “restrictive” community than some.

“But we would also be more consistent with other cities in the immediate area,” he said.