At their regular meeting Tuesday night, the city's Plan Commission resumed discussion and review of a proposed new sign ordinance.

The commission has been considering the issue for an extended period of time, appointing two subcommittees to create the current draft proposal.

Several local business owners, however, have raised concerns over that draft.

At Tuesday's meeting, local business owner Shawn Green, of Green Sign Company, presented an alternative draft ordinance for consideration.

After passing out copies of his draft to the seven commissioners present at Tuesday's meeting, Green said, "We put a lot of time and consideration into this."

He added that his draft is based on more than two decades of expertise in the signage business and incorporates elements from other ordinances which have proven successful in their respective cities.

The commission spent almost an hour comparing and contrasting Green's draft and the current formal draft submitted by the commission's most recent subcommittee.

"Our goal," Green explained to the commissioners, "is to eliminate the need for excessive variances."

City engineer Gary Murray, who's been part of both subcommittees to work on the commission's current sign-ordinance draft, clarified that the primary original goal in drafting a new ordinance was to make the existing ordinance less ambiguous and less prone to individual interpretation.

"We tried not to mess with heights or square footage," Murray said. "We recognized that electronic, animated signs aren't allowed with the current ordinance, and we tried to address that fact."

The commissioners and Green spent considerable time Tuesday night discussing parameters for acceptable and unacceptable electronic signs.

Commissioner Roy Middendorf, who has also been part of the commission's ordinance subcommittee, said that the goal of the subcommittees has been to avoid signs that flash red and white or other colors that might be mistaken for emergency vehicles.

Middendorf added, "I don't claim to be a sign expert, but I know what seems practical. We don't want signs that attract drivers' attention from the roadway for too long."

Green agreed with that goal, saying that the focus should be to avoid "harsh streaks of light and quick, bright flashes of light," leading to an extended discussion an acceptable scroll speeds and number of display changes per minute.

Murray, who recently attended a seminar on signage, offered to present a PowerPoint presentation at the next meeting that would illustrate various electronic sign effects.

Ultimately, the commission didn't reach any conclusions on the issue Tuesday night, and commission president Glenn Tebbe tasked his fellow commissioners to carefully read and compare both drafts point by point for the next commission meeting Sept. 18.

Also at Tuesday's meeting, the commission considered a request by local business Family Dollar to expand its Main Street facility by 200 square feet to include a break area for employees.

According to existing building codes, the proposed 67-by-20-foot addition would require additional parking spaces, and Family Dollar requested a variance to that requirement.

As with the sign issue, the commission didn't reach any conclusions on the matter, but agreed to again consider it at their next meeting.

Based on Murray's assessment of Family Dollar's request, however, the business stands a fair chance of seeing the request ultimately granted.

The next meeting of the Greensburg Plan Commission will be Sept. 18, at 7:30 p.m., at City Hall.   


Contact: Rob Cox at 812-663-3111 x7011.

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