BY REBECCA PALMER
BOUNTIFUL — The owner of Gordon Copy Print on 400 North has been saving his money for years to afford a new sign for his business, money that doesn’t come easy in his industry, lifetime resident Gordon Holbrook told the Bountiful City Council on Tuesday night.
Then, the Dec. 2011 windstorm all but destroyed his existing reader board sign, the kind that uses plastic letters that must be changed manually. He finally had enough in December of 2012, but was shocked to find that his sign was not allowed.
He was particularly shocked, because just blocks away, the Community Chiropractic Group on the corner of 200 West and 400 North uses a large, multi-sided electronic sign to advertise its services. He took the issue to the city planning commission, which discussed the signs for more than five months.
He has been accompanied at each step of the way by Goldenwest Credit Union, which wants an electronic sign for its new building at about 2100 S. Orchard Drive.
The signs were banned after Community Chiropractic erected its sign and the city received dozens of complaints.
Following a public hearing and vote late Tuesday night by the city council, Holbrook will have to keep waiting.
“We’ve never had a good experience with these,” said councilman Fred Moss during the meeting. “I don’t understand why we’re even considering these anywhere but 500 West.”
Councilman Tom Tolman, who owned a sign business for 30 years before he retired, took the opposite stance. He agreed with the planning commission’s decision that some kinds of electronic signs should be allowed on streets such as 2600 South, 500 South, 400 North, Highway 89 and parts of Orchard Drive.
“We need to be flexible enough to allow those in those areas,” he said. “I think we’ve got to be progressive enough to move ahead with those kinds of things”
City councilwoman Beth Holbrook, a candidate for mayor and member of the planning commission, was fully in favor of the proposed ordinance. Councilman Richard Higginson was less enthusiastic, but agreed that they might be reasonable in some form in some parts of the city.
At issue are the safety of the signs, the illumination levels that should be allowed and the kinds of graphics that could be used.
The draft ordinance hammered out by the planning commission recommended that “scintillating” images be banned, meaning light flashes, light sparkling, light star bursts, light twinkling or any animation with instant and repeated changes. The term comes from the sign industry.
It also recommended against any kind of video, and would allow only static images or scrolling text and only fading or dissolving transitions. The electronic portion of the signs would only be allowed on half of any sign’s total area and could not be larger than 32 square feet.
After about 90 minutes of public hearing and discussion, the council voted to table the issue for a few weeks so each member could study and ponder the issue. The council did not set a date on which to reconsider the issue.
Click here to read the document explaining the proposal, starting on page 43.