CITY CONSIDERATION FOR AMENDING SIGN CODE WHY IS THE CITY CONSIDERING ELECTRONIC MESSAGE CENTERS (EMC’S)? The City received a specific request from a local business owner requesting an amendment to the sign code. Local businesses have previously inquired to the City and local sign companies about the allowance of EMC’s. (6 to 12 requests a year)
DEFINITION OF EMC/DIGITAL READER BOARD WHAT IS AN ELECTRIC MESSAGE CENTER (EMC) OR DIGITAL READER BOARD SIGN?? “An electronic or electronically controlled message board, where scrolling or moving copy changes are shown on the same message board, or any sign, or portion of sign, that changes its text, copy, display, and/or light intensity electronically or by electronic means.”
EXAMPLES OF EMC’S/DIGITAL READER BOARDS Examples of EMC’s and Digital Reader Boards
EXAMPLES OF MANUAL READER BOARDS Example of Manual Reader Boards
CURRENT DEVELOPMENT CODE Development Code Section 151.10.006 Prohibited Signs states- “It shall be unlawful for any person to erect, display, or maintain a sign or advertising structure as described below…Reader Board and….Electronic (Digital) Reader Boards” No EMC’s For You!!!
JURISDICTIONS CURRENTLY REGULATING EMC’S City of Phoenix Maricopa County City of Glendale City of Kingman City of Tucson Cochise County City of Bisbee 1) Allowance of EMC’s within these jurisdictions range from administrative approval to Planning & Zoning Commission and Mayor & City Council approval. 2) Some jurisdictions only allow non-changeable messages others allow EMC’s with specific standards and guidelines.
ISSUES Distraction to drivers Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) in 1980 conducted a survey to determine if EMC’s were unsafe. No credible statistical evidence proving EMC’s were unsafe. FHWA conducted an additional study in 2001 called Potential Safety Effects of Electronic Billboards on Driver Attention and Distraction with inconclusive results. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration performed a study in 2006 entitled, The Impact of Driver Inattention on Near Crash/Crash Risk which concluded that the total eyes-off-road durations of greater than 2 seconds significantly increased individual near-crash/crash risk.
ISSUES Distraction to drivers A 2009 study in the journal Traffic Injury Prevention concluded that digital signs often take the driver’s eyes off the road for longer than 2 seconds. Sierra Vista Police Department stated that there have not been any reported vehicular accidents related to a driver being distracted by commercial signs, digital or otherwise.
ISSUES Aesthetics 1)Staff Subjectivity 2)High purchase cost will limit the number of requests for EMC signs. A typical 32 square foot sign is approximately $5,000. A 32 square foot EMC sign could range from $20,000 to $40,000. 3) Many of the aesthetic concerns relate to Manual Reader Boards.
ADVANTAGES Economic Development-provides another tool or option for business to promote goods & services. Aesthetics-allows property owner to advertise sales and events without needing banners and other types of temporary signage. Levels the Playing Field-Allow the option of EMC’s to all businesses.
VARIOUS TYPES OF MESSAGES Video of EMC sign and types of Content
POTENTIAL CODE REQUIREMENTS Write standards that allow EMC’s to be economically feasible for the business while still providing a public benefit to the community. Specify the size and height of the sign; Limit the frequency the message can change (industry standard is 8 seconds); Specify the type of image transitions (instantaneous, flashing, animation, etc.) Require static messaging or non-scrolling lettering; Have brightness requirements, different for residential vs. commercial, require automatic dimmers.