Tweaks to sign ordinance coming

FLINT TWP. — Dimming some of the bright LED storefront lights framing windows and doors on some township businesses may be addressed in pending changes to the sign ordinance.

The Planning Commission recently reviewed several sign ordinance amendment changes suggested by the building department.

Randy Stewart, building director, said he developed some tweaks to the ordinance after working with code enforcement for several months.

One change adds a definition of an abandoned sign. If a business closes and the sign sits there for six months, it will be classified as abandoned, Stewart said.

He also suggested adding the definition of a non-conforming sign as referring to any sign erected prior to adoption of this ordinance that does not meet the guidelines or intent of the ordinance.

Window and door signs also are being addressed in reference to advertisement placed on windows or doors of commercial businesses. Window signs, with some restrictions, will be permitted provided they do not exceed ten percent of the face of the building or 50 percent of the window surface area.

Commissioner Warren Marks asked if the new language could specifically address the proliferation of LED storefront lights on businesses. Marks said he is starting to see the bright lights on more and more businesses that are shining into the street.

“I have seen them so bright, they light up the street,” he said.

Stewart said that the new language addresses anything placed on a window or door or a commercial building. If the bright lights are framing lettering on the windows or doors, they can be classified as part of the sign, he said. He also said the issue can be addressed as something that distracts or blinds drivers based on the amount of lumens emitted.

Stewart also said sign ordinances can be tricky but he is working on coming up with the right language to address the issue.

The existing sign ordinance is an extensive document covering a wide range of topics including roof, political, wall, real estate, protruding, billboard and temporary going-out-of-business or grand opening signs.

The ordinance defines a sign as “any name, identification, description, display, illustration, wall art, surface or device, including its structure and component parts, which is affixed to, or otherwise located within, represented directly or indirectly upon a building, structure vehicle or land which bears an inscription, notice, motto or design, or which directs attention to an object, product, project, place, activity, person, institution, organization, business or service, and is visible from any public street, right-of-way, sidewalk, alley or other area open to the public.”

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