Council takes dim view on LED sign regulations

KINGMAN - LED signs were once again the topic of conversation at Kingman's City Complex Monday evening. After several months of debate over the regulation of the signs by the City Planning and Zoning Commission, City Council tabled the item in order to do more research on the subject.

The issue came before the commission several months ago after some residents complained of the brightness of a new LED sign for Ridgeview Dental. Dr. Tori Sandoval turned down the brightness of the sign, but the commission decided to take a closer look at regulating all electronic message display signs.

The proposed regulations would place restrictions on brightness, messages would have to stay on the sign for at least 4 seconds before changing, flashing animations would be prohibited and each sign would have to have a photo sensor that would automatically dim the sign at night.

Currently, all of the LED signs within the city limits meet the requirements proposed to the Council, said City Planner Gary Jeppson.

Councilwoman Carol Young raised concerns about limiting messages to 4 seconds.

Jeppson explained that according to the proposed regulations, the minimum amount of time that a message could be up would be 4 seconds.

A sign owner could certainly have a message stay up much longer than that if they wished, he said.

"I think this is unnecessary," said Mayor John Salem. "I know a lot of people who have invested a lot of money into the software for these signs. As long as it isn't a flashing distraction, I don't have a problem with them.

"We don't want to make this too restrictive and then have to back-track."

Councilwoman Robin Gordon asked if the City Planning and Zoning Department had checked out the regulations that other cities had on LED and electronic message signs. She also wasn't sure about how the city planned to measure and regulate the brightness of the signs.

"I think we need to tread lightly. I don't think we have enough information," Gordon said.

New Councilwoman Erin Cochran said she had spoken with people from other cities and they not only had limits on brightness and message times, but on the color of the messages.

Jeppson said he would be able to bring in some information from some of the sign manufacturers that was given to the commission for the next Council meeting.

Sandoval also spoke at the meeting. The signs are very expensive, she said. "It's really hard not to want to use all the functions. All of this (the brightness, message speed, etc.) can be controlled. I strongly encourage you to research this," she said.

The Council then voted to table the issue until its next meeting.

Council also approved a 12,000-gallon above-ground fuel tank for UniSource Energy's office on Airway Avenue and Harrison Street. The tank would contain 10,000 gallons of diesel fuel and 2,000 gallons of gasoline for the company's vehicles.

Concerns were raised at last month's P&Z Commission meeting about the proximity of the tank to two of Kingman Academy's schools and the security surrounding the tank.

UniSource Right of Way Agent Mike Gilbelyou said the company had decided to put the tank closer to Harrison Street and farther away from the schools. Also, the office and equipment yard is monitored 24 hours a day, seven days a week by cameras, and there is always a dispatch officer on duty at the office, he said.

Young asked if the tank would be visible above the fence that surrounded the property. All but 2 feet of the tank would be screened from the road, Gilbelyou said. The tank is also double walled to prevent leaks and would have a concrete pad and berm to prevent fuel from leaking into the soil.

Council approved the tank. Councilwoman Janet Watson was the only vote against it.

Council also approved awarding a $535,000 bid to rehabilitate the old train depot and grounds Monday night.