Oakwood city officials have modified the zoning code, and now electronic changeable copy signs are not permitted in the city. An electronic sign had been installed at the Community Center, 105 Patterson Road, by the new tennis courts at the adjoining Shafor Park, but after residents complained, the sign has been removed. STAFF
Photo: WAYNE BAKER/STAFF
Photo: WAYNE BAKER/STAFF

Oakwood says ‘no’ to electronic signs in the city — even its own

An electronic sign had been installed at the Community Center, 105 Patterson Road, by the new tennis courts at the adjoining Shafor Park. Residents objected, saying they did not think it fit the aesthetic of Oakwood, and leading to a decision to remove the sign.

The contentious issue was the subject of a recent public hearing, and council voted to revamp the signage regulations.

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The new Shafor Park Tennis Court Facility and parking lot opened for the public last October. Law Director Rob Jacques explained that the contractor installed a new electronic changeable sign prior to the Oakwood Planning Commission having the opportunity to vote on it, as well as allowing the public to weigh in on the issue.

“It was just an attempt to upgrade the technology,” he said. “But it was done ahead of getting formal approval, so we had to go back and revisit our sign ordinance in the zoning code.”

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Council’s new sign code leaves out ECC use for now, according to Jacques, to allow the signs to be researched thoroughly before being presented for potential approval.

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Vice-Mayor Steve Byington said the sign ordinance had not been updated materially updated since 2001, and the new ordinance was put together to accomplish three goals.

“The first of those was to establish clear regulations for the use of electronic signage, second was to ensure effective administration while remaining constitutional and three, to add clarity and consistency throughout the sign code,” he explained.

The Planning Commission had voted 3-2 to approve the new ordinance, but had attached certain conditions to it, including ECC being permitted on certain monument signs and requiring all permitted signs to be constructed with non-combustible materials.

Council ended up unanimously passing the new ordinance, but without those conditions.

“That would have eliminated wooden signs,” Jacques said. “Oakwood is 98 percent residential, and residents are always very concerned about preserving the historical value in the community.”

He said the new sign ordinance is akin to the city’s food truck ordinance passed last August, which allows food trucks to do business on Oakwood streets for the first time but puts heavy restrictions on the practice.

“Vendors were hoping to have a permit for a year and operate freely and whenever and wherever they wanted,” he said. “But the ordinance that passed limits where and when they can operate, and I think residents are more comfortable with that.”

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