Electronic signs in Beachwood could be more strictly regulated if an amendment to the zoning code passes through council.
Councilman Brian Linick said that the issue sprouted from a new electronic sign at the Dollar Bank at Chagrin Boulevard and Interstate 271.
“I was really surprised that we permit that in our zoning code,” he said. “I think we need to be much stricter for what we permit.”
The zoning code as written allows "changeable copy" signs but does not regulate them, said City Planner George Smerigan. “They’re becoming more and more popular,” he said, “and the city just wanted to get some sort of a provision in the code that would establish criteria or standards.”
The proposed code would regulate how long messages should be displayed and how long the transition between messages can be, the intensity of the light and that the electronic display cannot be more than 80 percent of the total area of the sign.
Linick said that it’s important to note the balancing act the code should strike. “I understand that they want to advertise and they want to promote their business…I’m glad that Dollar Bank invested in that building and improved it.”
Linick hopes the changes, which would apply only to future signs, and not to those already built, will help Beachwood’s aesthetics. A report commissioned by the city suggested that Beachwood make clear entry points to the city with aesthetic improvements.
“I think that from the second you get off the highway in Beachwood, from the exit ramp, you should know that you’re in Beachwood,” said Linick.
He added, “I don’t want to drive down Chagrin and feel like I’m on the Vegas strip.”
The ordinance was read for the first time at Monday's council meeting and referred to Planning and Zoning for review. It will be read twice more and face a public hearing before it can pass.
Do you think these signs should be allowed in Beachwood? Tell us in the comments!