Changes to the city’s electronic sign ordinance that were proposed late last year were publicly opposed by several business owners, and they ended up being pulled from a December meeting of the Oak Ridge Municipal Planning Commission.
Now, the city has scheduled a public hearing on the existing sign regulations, which were adopted in 2003, a city press release said.
The changes proposed last year would have governed message display times and brightness of electronic signs. They would have required that electronic sign messages be static and shown for at least 10 seconds, and they would have set a maximum light intensity for the signs. The city staff said drivers and residents have complained about the electronic reader board signs.
Business owners, though, have said the signs are effective, and they have objected to the city’s handling of the proposed changes, including a notice they received that gave them 10 days to fix any violations of the city’s sign ordinance. Those notices, which have since been canceled, said signs that have messages that are animated, moving, or flashing are generally prohibited in Oak Ridge.
The public hearing is scheduled for Thursday, Feb. 21, in the Multipurpose Room at the Central Services Complex on Woodbury Lane. It will be held during the regular meeting of the Oak Ridge Municipal Planning Commission, which starts at 5:30 p.m.
In its press release, the city said municipal staff members have periodically amended the sections of the zoning ordinance that govern signs to “accommodate the needs of the school board and our business community that were either not specifically addressed in the ordinance or needed clarification.
“Recently, the City of Oak Ridge has received feedback regarding electronic reader board signs (moving copy signs) and potential offsite impacts,” the press release said. “It has become apparent that current regulations need to be updated to reflect newly developed technology and marketing trends in electronic reader board signs (moving copy signs).”
The city said new businesses are moving into Oak Ridge and existing businesses are expanding, so it’s an “appropriate time to clarify the city’s ordinance with regard to electronic reader board signs.”
For more information, contact Alicia Bailey at (865) 425-3587 or visit the city’s website at www.oakridgetn.gov.