Source: Sherman Publications

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City sees the light in sign law

by Mary Keck

December 05, 2012

Downtown businesses' "open" signs can now be lit legally.

The Clarkston City Council adopted a sign ordinance allowing internally illuminated signs, voting 3-2, November 26.

Council members Mike Sabol, Peg Roth, and Eric Haven voted in favor of the ordinance while Carol Eberhardt and Tom Hunter opposed the measure. Mayor Joe Luginski and Councilman Stephen Hargis were absent.

"I was here 25 years ago when we wrote the ordinance," said Eberhardt who was sworn in that evening. "You don't need internally lit signs to let people know you're open," she added referring to her personal experience as a business owner in downtown Clarkston.

Haven pointed out the ordinance adoption was a "conciliatory move" allowing the council to maintain "a good rapport with the commercial district." He agreed with Eberhardt, however. "I don't think it's aesthetically pleasing," Haven said. "I can see us reversing this at some point."

Hunter didn't agree with the ordinance because of its specificity. "We're going too far when we tell people colors of background and letters," he said. "People should be able to use whatever colors they wish."

The ordinance states shops downtown are allowed only one sign at each public entry, and they must be displayed in a window. The sign cannot be larger than 13.5 inches by 6 inches. Its background must be black, and it can only have the word "open" in red letters. Signs that flash or move in any way are prohibited.

With the exception of council member Roth, no members of the Clarkston Retailers Group, who requested the new ordinance, attended the meeting.

The next City Council meeting will take place on December 10 at 7 p.m. in the Village Hall on Depot Road.