Special topics, sign and billboard amendments.

GROUNDSIGNWILDWOOD

This Wildwood sign, with its entire base anchored to the ground and surrounded by landscaping, is an example of the city’s proposed new requirement for monument-style freestanding signs.

Homewood is poised to make changes to its sign regulations that, as expected, would eliminate “pole signs” throughout the city, but which also would ban shopping center pylon signs in favor of monument-style signs, and spell out where interstate billboards may go, including the city’s Green Springs Urban Renewal District (GURD), but at least 600 feet from residential buildings. Pole signs are defined as “on-premises” signs advertising the business at the location. A billboard is defined as an “off-premises” sign.

The amendments were given a first reading Monday, March 16, with a second and final reading slated for the upcoming meeting this Monday.

This Wildwood pylon sign, held aloft by two pillars, would not meet the new requirements for freestanding shopping center signs.

The city’s sign amendments, if passed, would do away with towering pylon signs and replace them with low-profile monument signs.

If the measure passes, no new pole signs will be allowed, while their cousins, pylon signs–the stacked tower of business names at the gateways to shopping centers–will in the future be replaced with “ground” or monument signs. For the most part, the amendments simply eliminate the tall signs in favor of the lower-profile monument signs, without imposing on them any new restrictions or metrics.

However, there are a couple of exceptions, noted in light of the recent protests over the digital billboard erected on Lakeshore Drive in unincorporated Jefferson County and successful campaign to relocate it away from neighborhoods and in Homewood’s jurisdiction:

Efforts to have this sign relocated from unincorporated Jefferson County along Homewood's Lakeshore Drive is prompting a city overhaul of its own sign ordinance.

Word has it that this electronic billboard in unincorporated Jefferson County along Homewood’s Lakeshore Drive, will be relocated in Homewood near I-65, and under some newly proposed billboard regulations.

Changes proposed in Section 5-184 of the sign code, “Limitations on billboards and other off-premises signs,” adds the GURD to the areas that allow billboards and other off-premises signs, “as long as the sign is within an area that is no more than 75 feet from the right-of-way of the Interstate Highway 65.” (The  section is already worded to allow billboards, under certain conditions, in Sign District II within commercial zoning designations C-3, C-5 and M-1 “on lots adjoining the right-of-way of Interstate Highway 65, and within 3,000 feet of the center point of intersection of I-65 with Oxmoor Road.” The amendment would remove the C-5 zoning classification. )

Finally, an added clause would reduce the minimum distance required between two such billboards facing the same direction from 750 feet to 600 feet, and set a new minimum 600-foot clearance between any billboard and the nearest residential building.

Tubular lights outlining a roof, building structure, or storefront, are already outlawed in the city's sign ordinance.

Interesting distinction:  These bright tubular lights outlining a storefront window (or other “architectural features”) are specifically allowed in the city’s sign ordinance. Strings of lights are NOT allowed to outline property lines, sales areas, roof or building lines, however.

Click here to read the current sign regulations of the city’s code.  The following is a recap of the amendments proposed last week:

  • Pole signs, which are literally signs on top of poles, would be  prohibited throughout the city.
  • Pylon signs, those stacked signs at gateways to multi-tenant buildings such as shopping centers, would be prohibited in favor of monument signs.
  • Monument signs are redefined as signs attached directly to the ground by their entire base, not held up on pillars, braces or posts.
  • Amendments would apply to special planned districts, such as Brookwood Mall and Wildwood Center, which have their own signage rules.
  • Interstate-facing billboards would be allowed in GURD if no more than 75 feet from I-65 right-of-way.
  • Billboards and other off-premises signs would not be allowed within 600 feet of residential property.
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