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Thread: Non-conforming internally illuminated to non-conforming digital

  1. #1
    Super Moderator luckless pedestrian's avatar
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    Non-conforming internally illuminated to non-conforming digital

    A quick question on everyone's favorite topic, sign non-conformity...

    If a non-conforming gas station sign (as to size and illumination requirements) is changed to a new provider (Sunoco to Mobil that is), and they also change the gas price portion of the sign from internally lit numbers to a digital LED read out, is this an unlawful expansion of a non-conforming situation?

    I always want to plug in a tree falling in the forest line on these but it never fits right...

  2. #2
    Cyburbian dw914er's avatar
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    At my last gig, our stance was if they need a building permit for the sign, they'll have to conform to the code.
    And that concludes staff’s presentation...

  3. #3
    Cyburbian SW MI Planner's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by luckless pedestrian View post
    A quick question on everyone's favorite topic, sign non-conformity...

    If a non-conforming gas station sign (as to size and illumination requirements) is changed to a new provider (Sunoco to Mobil that is), and they also change the gas price portion of the sign from internally lit numbers to a digital LED read out, is this an unlawful expansion of a non-conforming situation?

    I always want to plug in a tree falling in the forest line on these but it never fits right...
    I would say it is an unlawful expansion - not only is it illuminated but it is now scrolling/flashing/changing copy.

  4. #4
    Cyburbian Otis's avatar
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    Is the digital portion any larger? If not I don't see how it is an expansion. But are they using the same cabinet for the new digital sign? If not, we would consider it a structural alteration and not allow it, even if it is the same size. Some places allow you to exchange like for like (e.g. change a 24" x 60" steel cabinet for another of the same size and materials, but we don't.

  5. #5
    moderator in moderation Suburb Repairman's avatar
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    In my world they would be "increasing the degree of the nonconformity," which is not allowed under our code. The basis goes back to the capabilities of the sign before and after, plus the conversion from internally lit to digital is a change in the character of the sign, which is regulated differently under our code. You can also cite studies regarding the increased visibility of digital signs versus their conventional counterparts (lots of stuff about that done by both the sign industry & ScenicAmerica).

    EDIT: Nevermind. Just realized you're talking about a fuel price sign that doesn't really utilize any of the special features. I could make a good argument either way on that.

    "Oh, that is all well and good, but, voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country."

    - Herman Göring at the Nuremburg trials (thoughts on democracy)

  6. #6
    Super Moderator luckless pedestrian's avatar
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    code enforcement deemed it an expansion of a non-conformity and it wasn't what was on the site plan to the Planning Board

    Beep, thanks for playing

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    Guess depends on if you allow Digital Price Sign. My municipality only allows Static Digital within Interstate Zone, outside of the zone not allowed, if non-conforming we allow concession of a cabinet face change only, but no expansion or addition of Digital.

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    Some ordinances allow for transitions from one legal non-conforming use to another. Our regulations allow for non-conforming signs to change copy or inserts as long as the structure is not altered.

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