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The bright lights of the city

Spring Valley still struggling with LED signs

Published: Friday, June 27, 2014 3:31 p.m. CDT • Updated: Friday, June 27, 2014 3:34 p.m. CDT

SPRING VALLEY — the Spring Valley City Council is still trying to get a grasp on how to regulate the new LED advertising signs which businesses have begun erecting.

The new signs have brought concerns to residents who live near them. Residents have complained they are too bright and shine into their homes at night, which creates a disturbance.

Spring Valley City Attorney Jim Andreoni has presented the city of Chicago’s dynamic display sign ordinance to the council. The ordinance is used to regulate the brightness of the signs. Andreoni is using the Chicago ordinance as a model to draft Spring Valley’s future LED sign ordinance.

The council held a legislative meeting Thursday evening with hopes that owners of the LED signs would attend and provide input on the regulations the city is purposing. However, only one resident who lives on Dakota Street near one of the new LED signs attended the meeting.

The council is proposing to regulate the signs by illuminance, which is measured in nits.Andreoni explained in the Chicago ordinance a sign can be so many nits between 5 a.m. and sunset; so many nits between sunset and midnight; and from midnight to 5 a.m., the signs have to be shut off, unless the business is open.

The council does want to get around regulating the signs located at Hall High School and St. Bede Academy. Mayor Walt Marini said at a previous meeting the signs are not located near residents and don’t seem to be a bothersome.

Taking that suggestion into consideration, Andreoni had drafted a provision in the ordinance that exempted any sign erected on property owned by a school or religious organization, if the sign is displaying information pertaining to the school or religious institution.

However, aldermen pointed out on Thursday that churches located in residential areas have begun erecting the LED signs, and perhaps they should regulate the signs located at religious institutions.

After further discussion on the sign regulations, it was ultimately determined there are too many open questions about the ordinance, and the council needs more information about the new LED signs — such as how their nits can be measured, whether or not they can be turned off at night and how a measuring device is used to measure the nit.

Marini did authorize Spring Valley Police Chief Kevin Sangston to purchase a measuring device, which is expected to cost about $400. Sangston said he would also find out more about the signs and report back to the council.

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