New rules offer more freedom for signsFor more than a year Rosemount’s sign committee has worked to make the city’s sign ordinance a balance between what business owners want and the city’s need to regulate what people put up.
By: Emily Zimmer, Rosemount Town Pages
For more than a year Rosemount’s sign committee has worked to make the city’s sign ordinance a balance between what business owners want and the city’s need to regulate what people put up. On Tuesday the Rosemount City Council approved an amendment to the ordinance that hopefully will satisfy both sides.
The committee suggested the city council make seven changes to overhaul the city’s existing sign regulations. Those changes included allowing some off-premise signs with limits on their location and size and on how long they are displayed; allow additional electronic signs with standards dealing with location, text size, operational mode, display time, brightness and color; adjust zoning district standards to more closely align with market conditions and establish consistency between different land uses; allow projecting signs in the downtown district subject to conditions; allow shared signs in the highway commercial and general commercial districts; ensure free speech through personal opinion signs; and promote architectural compatibility between signs and the associated buildings.
The committee, which was made up of city council members, planning commission members and city staff, started the process of going through the ordinance last January.
“It was a pretty extensive process,” said senior planner Jason Lindahl.
The most notable changes, Lindahl said, were allowing some off-premise signs such as small real estate signs and open house signs and allowing more electric signs.
Lindahl said staff initiated the changes to the ordinance after several issues regarding signs came up. Rather than address the issues individually staff came up with a two-phase process to review the ordinance. The first phase ended in November 2007 when the council approved revisions of the ordinance regarding permitting procedures, free speech issues and on-premise temporary signs.
The second phase started in January 2008 with the creation of the sign committee. Sign committee members included city council members Kim Shoe-Corrigan and Mark DeBettignies and planning commissioners Jay Palda, Jeanne Schwartz and Dianne Howell. Planning commissioner Valerie Schultz also participated.
To get a feel for what the business community wanted the committee held an open house and consulted the Rosemount Area Business Council for feedback. RABC president Don Sinnwell said the group had a frank conversation with the city about what changes they would want in the ordinance.
In particular, he said the committee originally proposed a 20 minute minimum display time for electronic messages and monument signs in all commercial and industrial zones including downtown.
Sinnwell said in both cases the RABC opposed the changes and worked with the committee to come up with what it considers more reasonable standards. The committee changed the electric sign standard to five minutes and did not put language in the ordinance requiring monument signs in all commercial and industrial zones.
“There were a couple of things we wanted changed and we are pleased as a business council that they worked with us,” said Sinnwell.
The amendments to the sign ordinance passed 5–0 with little discussion.