BY REBECCA PALMER
BOUNTIFUL – After weeks of wrangling at the city council and months of discussion by the planning commision, officials here are ready to move forward with an ordinance that would allow electronic signs in commercial areas around town.
On Tuesday night in a study session held after the regular council meeting, a majority of elected officials agreed to the new rules.
If the council votes as it plans, electronic signs with moving text and pictures would be allowed along Highway 89, parts of Orchard Drive, on 500 South west of Main Street and 2600 South west of 500 West. They would not be allowed on Main Street or 200 West and would be allowed on 400 North. Only commercial properties would be eligible.
In many areas, the permission would be based on conditional use permits, which allow the planning commission and elected officials to add restrictions on a per-sign basis to protect residential areas from intrusion by the new signs, among other things.
Councilman John Marc Knight was in opposition to allowing any additional electronic signs.
“Every sign that’s in Bountiful right now is a poster child for abuse,” he said. “If there’s no competition (from existing electronic signs in the city), why create a sign war?”
His comments were answered swiftly by Councilman Tom Tolman, who spent his career in the sign industry.
“I think we ought to be progressive enough to allow that to happen, to let business owners succeed,” he said.
The two businesses that have asked for permission to erect electronic signs will be allowed to do so. They are America First Credit Union, which built a new branch on Orchard Drive, and Gordon’s Copy Print, on about 200 West and 400 North. The credit union will likely be allowed a monument sign, but the print shop will likely get to put an electronic message board in place of its existing pole sign.
Staffers are still hammering out details of the legal language, so some questions remain unanswered.
“I can live with that,” said Gordon Holbrook, who owns the print shop. “The sign will enable me to let people know what we do. Also, we will use it for special functions and community announcements, things like that.”
The city council is not likely to vote on the issue until July 30 because it is required to send public notices about the proposed vote to affected property owners and this newspaper.