| 03.18.2018

City Council plans to limit signs


The Moscow City Council will hold an emergency ordinance hearing to consider a proposal to regulate electronic signs at 7 p.m. on Sept. 4. “The city council had a meeting Aug. 20 where they received the Planning and Zoning Commission’s recommendation,” said Bill Belknap, community development director. “The question was presented if they felt the potential for imminent harm to the community existed that would allow the city to construct an emergency ordinance. They did find there was imminent harm to the community, so they directed staff to draft an emergency ordinance.”
The meeting will include a public hearing where anyone can present their concerns, support, or opinions to the city council.
Sue Scott, city council representative, said the emergency ordinance gives the Planning and Zoning Commission time to get a sub-committee of business people and community representatives together to devise a more permanent ordinance.
“In 1999, there was a big controversy with billboards and what worked well was getting members of the business community on a sub-committee to work out what’s a good plan, and they came up with the parts for the ordinance,” Scott said. “The emergency ordinance puts in place controls now that may be too strict and may not be, but now if anyone wanted to put a giant billboard they could put one in without any regulations at all. This stops people from rushing in to get a permit because they are afraid it will be regulated later.”
Dan Carscallen, city council representative, said the council felt there was imminent harm because of the distractions the signs cause.
“Until we know what other places do, what we can tolerate and what the community wants, we need a regulation,” Carscallen said. “We aren’t telling anyone that they can’t have what they already have, we just don’t want a bunch popping up without regulations”
Scott said the mayor provided an example of distracted driving to the council.
According to Scott, Mayor Nancy Cheney was stopped near Tri-State and was looking at their sign.
“All of a sudden the sign turned green and she stepped on the gas,” Scott said.
Scott said this particular area has a history of distracted drivers.
“First, students were getting hit by Tri-State, so we put in a crosswalk,” Scott said. “That didn’t work, so finally we got the state to put in a signal and the university actually changed their road to make it safe there.”
With the new signs popping up, Scott said the city council is afraid people will start being hit by cars again.
“(The signs) are not a bad thing, but they have their limits,” Scott said. “We don’t want to ban signs, but want to limit to a reasonable number of times the image can switch and the brightness.”
Katy Sword can be reached at arg-news@uidaho.edu

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