Reader board sign compromise reached

A compromise appears to have been reached on the issue of reader board signs in Red Deer.

A compromise appears to have been reached on the issue of reader board signs in Red Deer.

Last July, city administration recommended the adoption of new regulations related to reader board signs — or dynamic signs — that display rotating messages or images. These included restrictions on third-party advertising and sponsor recognition.

Officials from Red Deer College and the Westerner Exposition Association complained that such changes would affect their ability to fundraise. As a result, the city’s municipal planning commission, which was being asked to recommend the amendment to city council, tabled the matter to allow for further study and discussion.

On Monday, the issue returned to the commission’s agenda. This time, the changes proposed had the blessing of Red Deer College and the Westerner.

The draft land use bylaw amendment would allow third-party advertising and sponsor recognition on dynamic signs in public service district sites with more than 42 acres. Both Red Deer College and the Westerner would fall within this classification.

However, such advertising and sponsor recognition would require specific wording identifying it as such.

Other aspects of the proposed regulation changes include a requirement that electronic messages be displayed for at least three seconds, their level of brightness be acceptable to the city’s development officer and the dynamic portion of a sign cover not more than 25 per cent of its total area.

Dynamic signs would also be allowed at regional shopping centres, and in major commercial areas, business service districts and heavy industrial zones.

Only two dynamic signs would be allowed per site, with one a fascia sign, the other a freestanding sign and the two at least 50 metres apart. Such signs could not be within 150 metres of an existing dynamic sign on a separate site, and they would have to be at least 75 metres from residential areas.

More than a dozen businesses and other organizations in Red Deer have dynamic signs. Those that don’t meet the requirements of the amended regulations would become “legal non-conforming signs” that couldn’t be enlarged, replaced or redeveloped without being brought into compliance.

The commission voted to recommend to city council that it approve the proposed amendments to the land use bylaw.

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