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Thread: On-premise electronic reader boards

  1. #1
    Mar 2008
    America's Southland

    On-premise electronic reader boards

    Does anyone have any ordinances or guidelines that deal directly with on-premise electronic or digital reader board signs (wall signs specifically)? Looking for some guidelines to write an ordinance to restrict the uses of these signs ... and I can't find anything that fits our needs.

  2. #2
    Cyburbian mgk920's avatar
    Mar 2004
    Appleton, Wisconsin
    I don't work there, but from what I remember, the City of Menasha (Wisconsin) prohibits them.


  3. #3
    Cyburbian jmello's avatar
    Mar 2005
    Clayobyrne, CB
    Try searching for on-premises signs, not on-premise signs.

  4. #4
    Cyburbian Richmond Jake's avatar
    Aug 2001
    The Emerald Coast
    Here's some language my jurisdiction recently adopted. It's based on the Florida administrative code that regulates off-premises signs (billboards).

    a. The static display time for each message is a minimum of six seconds.

    b. The time to complete change from one message to the next is a maximum of two seconds.

    c. The change of message shall occur simultaneously for the entire sign face.

    d. The sign shall contain a default design that will freeze the device in one position if a malfunction occurs.

    e. The sign shall have no revolving, flashing, moving, rotating, or similar intermittent lights.

    f. Electronic signs shall not exceed a maximum illumination of 5000 nits (candelas per square meter) during daylight hours and a maximum illumination of 500 nits (candelas per square meter) between dusk to dawn as measured from the signís face at maximum brightness.

    g. Electronic signs shall have an automatic dimmer control to produce a distinct illumination change from a higher illumination level to a lower level meeting the above illumination standards for the time period between one half-hour before sunset and one half-hour after sunrise.
    Annoyingly insensitive

  5. #5
    We're currently working on a Land Use Bylaw amendment regarding reader boards. However, it's not my project so I don't have the exact details at this moment. It was taken to council recently with great public debate so it will be interesting to see how things pan out.

  6. #6

    we're working on on premise digital sign ordinance

    Here in Burlington, VT, our planning commission (which I'm a member of) just forwarded to our City Council a recommended digital sign ordinance. It was initiated by a request from the high school to install a digitial sign along the roadway by the school. The planning commission, while authorizing digital signs, took a very cautious approach in the draft ordinance, basically seeking to test the waters, so to speak, initially. There are a number of restrictions on the signs, in terms of their operation and allowed locations.

    I don't have a copy of the draft ordinance on my computer, but if you contact our planning director, David White, I'm sure he'd email you a copy. I believe some of the text in draft ordinance was based on research David did on what other communities had done, and then modified somewhat by the planning commission. You can reach David at: 802-865-7194, or: dewhite@ci.burlington.vt.us.

    Wearing my "other hat" (that is, as Editor of the Planning Commissioners Journal) I'm also going to do a posting in about two weeks to our PlannersWeb site/blog about digital electronic signs. It will include a short interview I conducted with a staffer at Scenic America highlighting some of the problems with the proliferation of these signs. So ... stay tuned.

  7. #7
    Oct 2008
    Nashville, TN

    On-premise electronic signs

    Quote Originally posted by ryan.miller.c View post
    Does anyone have any ordinances or guidelines that deal directly with on-premise electronic or digital reader board signs (wall signs specifically)? Looking for some guidelines to write an ordinance to restrict the uses of these signs ... and I can't find anything that fits our needs.
    Ryan - did you ever find information on this? I, too, have been tasked with researching this issue and have been scouring the internet and seem to be coming up blank. Everything relates to billboards and we are specifically not dealing with billboards. Our interest came up because churches and YMCAs located in residential areas want to have the electronic signs and it swept up quite a controversy.

  8. #8

    Burlington, Vermont, electronic sign ordinance

    Here in Burlington, Vermont, our city council is close to adoption of an electronic sign ordinance that our planning commission & department prepared. If you want a copy or info on the ordinance, I'd suggest you contact our planning director, David White, at: DEWhite@ci.Burlington.vt.us

  9. #9
    Sep 2008
    No place you want to be
    Here is what our city says about EMCs.

    Sec. 10-415. Electronic Message Center Signs

    a. In addition to the standards set forth in Table, all electronic message centers (EMC) signs located in the city must adhere to the following requirements:

    1. EMCs must meet all the requirements of this sign code. All EMC signs shall complywith the appropriate City sign and other regulations.

    2. The maximum height of any freestanding EMC that is not attached to or part of a multipart freestanding sign is eight feet. Where an EMC is attached to or part of a multi-part reestanding sign, the maximum sign height will be determined according to the maximum permissible height of the sign type of which the EMC is a part.

    3. The maximum area of an EMC sign shall not exceed sixty-four (64) square feet, and is in addition to other sign allowances. As an EMC sign is a form of reader board, the EMC sign square footage may not be coupled with any other form of reader board.

    4. Minimum separation between EMC signs is 70í, unless approved by the Planning
    Director based on visibility needs.

    5. EMCs may be used for all or part of an on-premise sign that displays a commercial or noncommercial message. EMCs may not display off-premises commercial advertising.

    6. All EMC signs shall have a minimum hold of three (3) seconds, with one (1) second per line of copy.

    7. No animation of any type, or flashing light, or "spell on" display mode is allowed on any EMC.

    8. All EMC signs shall be antiglare. All EMCs must be equipped with an automatic dimmer device.

    9. As measured at the property line, the maximum light emanation from an EMC sign shall be no greater than .2 footcandles.

    10. EMC signs must not face single family zoned property consisting of the following zoning designations: R-1A, R-1B, R-1C, R-1D, R-2, PXR and PUR or property used for single family regardless of zoning.

    11. No EMC signs are allowed within or facing historic districts.

    12. Any malfunctioning EMC must be turned off or display a blank screen until repaired.

    13. All electrical equipment used to operate or install an EMC must be UL listed.

    14. All electrical power to an EMC sign must be supplied via underground carrier, inside approved conduit, and must be installed according to the city electrical requirements.

    15. All EMC signs shall be kept in good operating condition and maintained with good external appearance.

    16. If any non-conforming existing EMC sign is damaged so that repairs would cost as much as 60 percent of the value of the sign, the sign may be repaired only if it is
    brought into conformance with this ordinance. (ORD. 0-97-62, 12/10/97) (Ord. No.
    0-2007-94; 7/25/07).

  10. #10
    Cyburbia Administrator Dan's avatar
    Mar 1996
    Upstate New York
    Blog entries
    FWIW, here's the electronic message center that got them banned in the city where I live.

    26 MB Quicktime video

    Yeah, I know a monument-style EMC seems kind of strange. My town is nearing the end of an amortization period where pole signs must be replaced with shorter monument signs.
    Growth for growth's sake is the ideology of the cancer cell. -- Edward Abbey

  11. #11
    Super Moderator luckless pedestrian's avatar
    Aug 2005
    in a meeting
    we banned them - except for time/temperature and vacancy signs

  12. #12
    Oct 2005
    Bloomington, Minnesota
    See Sections (4), (5), (6), (7) and (8) in Bloomington, Minnesota's sign code at:

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