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Twp. LED signs to glow once again

April 04, 2012 - Brandon Twp.- The LED signs in the township have been dark since January, but they may soon be back in business.

The township board approved the first reading of an amended sign ordinance during their April 2 meeting by a 5-1 vote. Trustee Cheryl Gault voted no. Trustee David King abstained from voting.

The amendment was made to the section regarding sign movement or message changes and upon approval of a second reading will take effect. The section will be changed to read: "No sign shall have blinking, flashing or fluttering lights or other illuminating devices which have a changing intensity, brightness or color, or which are so constructed and operated as to create an appearance or illusion of writing, printing, or moving graphics, except that static message movement showing the date, the time and the temperature or where the color, brightness, intensity, static message or any part of the sign changes no less than every five minutes may be permitted."

"I believe this to be fair to the businesses, as well as keeping a more rural character to the township by not allowing the signs to scroll or flash and messages that have to be static for five minutes at a time," said Township Supervisor Kathy Thurman.

At the heart of the debate over the change proposed by the planning commission last year were safety concerns as well as the keeping of a "country look" in the community.

Gault said Monday she didn't want the township to have lights flashing like Disney World.

During a joint meeting between the township board and the planning commission in January at which several ordinances were discussed, the proposed changes to the sign message ordinance failed in a tie vote by the township board.

The township has no jurisdiction over the LED sign owned by the school district, but there are three other LED signs on M-15 in the township, two of which are owned by open businesses, and the planning commission feels there will be more coming and thus, more regulation is necessary.

"It is a community intrusion situation in that these LEDs are brighter lights to the vision of the eye and to change them is very distracting," said Building Director Bill Dinnan when first requesting the change. He said numerous surveys have shown that such signs are a danger to drivers if they must take their eyes off the road for more than two or three seconds to read the message.

Susan covers Brandon Township and Ortonville
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