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LED—Lane Car Company sign OK'd by village council



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May 16, 2012 - Ortonville- The village council's approval of an LED sign on M-15 is a sign of goodwill for a local business.

After some discussion and perhaps initial hesitation, the council approved 6-0 at their May 14 meeting a motion to allow Lane Car Company to have an LED message board sign installed at their recently opened second location at 110 Ortonville Road, within the village limits. Council Trustee Coleen Skornicka was absent.

"I support this because no one wants to see empty businesses in our community," said Council Trustee Liz Waters, who noted some council members were initially opposed, but the council ultimately showed their unity in approving the sign. "He (business owner Jim Lane) wants to better our community, he's not out to hinder our community."

She added that Lane will have only one sign erected, using less square footage than the previous occupant of the property (Simms Chevrolet).

The sign is 25 feet high by 15 feet long. The message board is 5 feet high and 8 feet long and will have a static message that is permitted to change every 10 seconds, according to Michigan Department of Transportation safety regulations governing signs on state roads such as M-15. The sign will not have a fluttering, blinking, or scrolling message.

The Brandon Township Board and Planning Commission debated LED signs in the township at length earlier this year. In January, the two boards held a joint meeting during which several ordinances were discussed and at which proposed changes to the sign message ordinance, requiring the messages on such signs to change no more often than every five minutes, failed.

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. Last month, the township board agreed to the five-minute rule on LED signs in the township.

"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.

"We wouldn't pass this for the historic downtown in the village, but this is appropriate for the M-15 corridor," said Waters.

Susan covers Brandon Township and Ortonville
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