After years of planning, Wallingford PZC is ready to finalize digital sign regs

After years of planning, Wallingford PZC is ready to finalize digital sign regs

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WALLINGFORD — The Planning and Zoning Commission may be ready to move forward next month with new rules on digital display signs.

Current regulations don’t ban digital signs, which include electronic signs, message boards and LED signs, but there is a restriction on flashing or moving text.

The issue of regulating digital LED signs in Wallingford was first discussed in 2015. Residents had expressed concerns that electronic signs, which scroll and flash, are distracting to drivers and cause light pollution.

Since February 2017, the town has had a moratorium prohibiting businesses from displaying digital signs on the outside of buildings.

Gas price displays

During Monday’s PZC meeting, Town Planner Kacie Hand said drafts of the new regulations would “allow a limited amount of digital signage,” based on information provided by “several different sources.”

There’s a proposed exception for gas and service stations since gas price changes often.

“They are sort of a single-product facility,” Hand said.

The town can't specify what signs say, but the regulations are geared toward price displays, with square footage limits and restrictions on color, intensity and text movement.

“We can't say those have to be pricing signs,” she said. “What we can say is gas stations have a limited amount of signage.”

Hand also said the definition of a digital sign and a language correction in reference to temporary signs would be written into the regulations .

Affects small business

Tim Keogh, owner of graphic design and sign business Image 360, talked about use of signs by small businesses during Monday’s meeting.

He said Tuesday that “it just wasn’t right to outlaw a sign because of the potential of what it could do.”

Regulation, not a ban, would allow “everyone to take advantage of what (digital) signs have to offer.”

He said that digital signs can help modernize properties, such as multi-tenant plazas where signs may not not big enough to read by passing motorists.

“They (commissioners) realize new technology is coming, and they have to figure out a way to deal with it,” he said.
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