City lifts moratorium on electronic sign permits, proposes ordinance

After an increased interest in having electronic signs in the city, the Princeton City Council has proposed to end the city’s moratorium on issuing permits for such signs and has proposed a new ordinance pertaining to them.

The City Council slapped on the electronic-signs moratorium Jan. 9 this year to give it time to study what kind of ordinance it should have to regulate “dynamic, digital, electronic changeable copy, electronic graphic display signs and/or video display signs.” If approved at a future council meeting, the ordinance would repeal the current ordinance pertaining to such signs.

Community Development Director Carie Fuhrman told the council that these signs would not be allowed inside the B-1 central business district in order to protect the “historic integrity of the downtown.”

If passed, the ordinance would not mean the removal of existing electronic signs like the ones on Bremer Bank and Coborn’s. Those would be considered legal, nonconforming signs.

Also, the proposed ordinance would not allow these type of signs to be within 125 feet of any existing residence, and the signs would be subject to the same provisions as other signs.

Further, the brightness of these signs would be limited and the sign owners would be required to provide an accurate field method of ensuring that maximum light levels are not exceeded if requested by the city. Flashing signs would be prohibited.