December 20, 2017

Sign to be whittled down

BY ALYSSA MEIER
Editor
In order to meet size requirements that would allow community messages to once again be shown, Washburn’s digital sign will be getting an square-footage reducing facelift.
Currently 19 square feet over the maximum allowable size for a directional/informational sign, the city’s new community sign is expected to be altered soon as one final step to meet Department of Transportation standards.
“It’s currently at 169 square feet and needs to go down to 150 square feet and that’s with the frame and the trim,” City Auditor Joan Zimmerman said at Tuesday’s Washburn Economic Development Association meeting. Members of WAEDA, which coordinated the design, funding and installation of the sign, met with Indigo Signworks and DOT on Monday to talk about options.
Zimmerman said DOT had recently decided to allow the four sponsorship panels, something sign owners were previously told was an unpermitted form of advertising. DOT has since accepted sponsor recognition on signs, but still requires all messages be directly tied to the entity on whose property the sign stands. In this case, only school events would be allowed with the sign’s current permitting and structure.
A permit application filed with the DOT earlier this year was denied, on the grounds that the sign sits on residential property. To be eligible for a commercial outdoor advertising permit -- which would allow off-site advertising -- the sign must stand on commercial or industrial land. In its permit denial letter, the DOT advised that there is another option if sign owners want to promote community events.
“There continues to remain the opportunity to reduce the size of the sign to 150 square feet or less, bringing it into compliance with directional/informational sign requirements and allowing the sign to be used to promote other community events, without requiring a state permit,” the Nov. 8 DOT letter stated.


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