As new technologies emerge, so do the challenges for planners and zoning officials in keeping up to date with land use regulations. Today’s zoning officials are faced with new emerging technologies for Light Emitting Diode (LED) signs.
LED signage comes in all shapes and sizes, from billboards to wall signs. Gas stations are advertising the price of gasoline, cigarettes, and milk using LED signage. Churches, schools, and libraries promote non-commercial messages which inform the public of religious and civic events. Local retailers are even using low-cost LED window signs which can be programmed to flash and scroll the price of the day’s bargains.
The new technology allows signmakers the flexibility to quickly change messages as well as change the brightness and script for attention-grabbing techniques. Animated figures can dance, run, and wave to promote a product or service. New technology also allows commercial LED signs to flash, blink, and scroll, thereby soliciting attention of motorists or pedestrians. While the new technology can offer attention-grabbing signage, appropriate zoning controls must be considered to minimize automobile driver distraction and preserve community aesthetics.
In order to regulate these signs, zoning officials and planners should examine their current sign regulations to be sure that they have appropriate controls on LED signs. LED sign regulations should control the frequency or interval of message change (dwell time). LED sign regulations should also establish controls on animation, scrolling, blinking, or flashing.
The brightness of signs should also be regulated. Measuring brightness can be complicated because of variable degrees of brightness on sunny days or dark evenings. However, new brightness level standards have been established by the Illuminating Engineering Society of North America. They have established specific brightness levels based on ambient footcandle light measured for the area of the sign and the distance of the sign. Carlisle/Wortman Associates has specific expertise in applying these new standards established by the Illuminating Engineering Society of North America to local ordinances. These brightness regulations in conjunction with other LED sign controls will establish appropriate regulations for LED signs within your community. Contact the professionals at Carlisle/Wortman Associates to assist your community with up-to-date LED sign regulations.