Planners reject electronic sign

Citing concerns about the creation of a “Vegas north,” Red Deer’s municipal planning commission on Monday pulled the plug on an electronic reader board sign proposed for a business near Gaetz Avenue.

Citing concerns about the creation of a “Vegas north,” Red Deer’s municipal planning commission on Monday pulled the plug on an electronic reader board sign proposed for a business near Gaetz Avenue.

Tom Bast Sports was seeking to install a dynamic sign on its premises at 6013 48th Ave.

The sign, which would measure about 2.4 metres by 1.4 metres, would comply with Red Deer’s land use bylaw.

But city administration urged the commission to reject the application, pointing out that the sign would be visible from busy Gaetz and 49th avenues.

In July 2010, city council passed a resolution allowing new dynamic signs on busy arterial routes only at the Sheraton Red Deer Hotel, the Red Deer Lodge and the Black Knight Inn.

It directed administration to prepare a development vision for Gaetz Avenue, with that vision to include a policy on dynamic signs.

That vision has yet to be finalized.

Although Tom Bast Sports is in Riverside Light Industrial Park and about 40 metres from 49th Avenue and 150 metres from Gaetz Avenue, some members of the commission felt allowing the installation of a dynamic sign there would be contrary to council’s intent.

Coun. Cindy Jefferies said council wanted to restrict dynamic signs until the vision for Gaetz Avenue was completed.

She added that the signs can be distracting, and detract from the aesthetics of the city.

In the case of the Tom Bast Sports sign, it would also be near an area where the city plans to plant a row of trees as part of Red Deer’s centennial celebrations.

Coun. Buck Buchanan also said he was reluctant to approve the application before a formal Gaetz Avenue vision was in place.

Jim Marke, a citizen representative on the commission, said he felt dynamic signs were “ugly and totally unnecessary.”

“Does the City of Red Deer really want to become a mass of moving signs or dynamic signs along any of our roads? We’re going to end up looking like Vegas north if it’s taken to its logical extreme.”

Larry Thomsen, another citizen representative, said he also disliked dynamic signs but Tom Bast Sports’ proposal met the technical requirements of Red Deer’s land use bylaw. He added that the sign would be relatively small, screened by existing trees and not in the line of vision of motorists on 49th and Gaetz avenues.

“I don’t see any clear reason, under existing policy, why it should be rejected.”

Citizen representative Peter Holloway also argued that the sign wouldn’t be distracting, because it would be some distance from 49th and Gaetz avenues.

The commission voted 4-2 in favour of denying the application. Thomson and Holloway were the dissenters.

hrichards@bprda.wpengine.com

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