By Sandi Latimer, Staff Writer
London City Council amended its zoning code to allow scrolling digital signs and, at the same time, limit the size and location of such signage.
“We’re trying to come up to date with technology,” said Elmer Olsen, chair of the London Planning Commission, at the Sept. 19 council meeting. “When the rules were written, we didn’t have scrolling capabilities.”
Councilman Dick Minner took issue with the commission’s limit on the height of scrolling signs. When located in business districts in the city, the signs must sit on the ground and stand no taller than five feet high.
“I think five foot is too low,” Minner said. “I’ve done a lot of traveling and have had trouble finding signs.”
“We’re not an interstate,” countered Olsen. “The locals know where the stores are. Furthermore, they can go to the Board of Zoning Appeals to get a 25 percent increase in height, but I think that would interfere with visibility.”
A 25 percent increase would add another 15 inches to the height limit.
“Can you see over a sign that high if you’re coming out a business’s driveway?” Olsen asked.
Council unanimously approved the signage revisions.
Council also approved revisions to the city sidewalk regulations, as recommended by the Planning Commission. The changes address partial sidewalks in subdivisions with empty lots. Now, once 80 percent of lots in a subdivision or any phase of it have been sold, the developer must construct sidewalks on the remaining unsold lots. The sidewalks must be four inches thick and no less than five feet wide.
Safety-Services Director Steve Hume requested a $26,000 increase in the city’s recreation budget to cover expenses through the rest of 2013.
Part of the money, he said, is needed to purchase equipment and order shirts for the 2014 winter basketball program; sign-ups and practices start in November and December. He also wants to convert the recreation director position from part-time to full-time starting in early November.
Council left the request on first reading and will revisit it at the next meeting, set for Oct. 3.
Council approved Hume’s request for $4,000 to cover the cost of closing down the city swimming pool for the winter.
Resident Doug Pyles asked why the increased appropriations were necessary at this time and why the money wasn’t budgeted earlier in the year.
Hume said the money was needed to shut down the pool properly so it could reopen in the spring with minimal repairs.
“It hadn’t been properly shut down for the past couple of years, and we’ve needed to make repairs,” Hume said. “With proper closure that includes drainage and maintenance now, the city could save money in the spring.”
London’s wastewater treatment plant is expanding its services to accept non-toxic, non-hazardous industrial waste from outside, non-residential sources such as restaurants, schools and other commercial and industrial entities.
With the expansion of services comes the need to update the city’s laws to include procedures for accepting and treating such waste. Council held its first reading on the newly drafted rules. Following two more readings and a public hearing on Nov. 7, council will vote on the procedures.