Aurora — The city’s proposed new sign code would be “a lot more user-friendly and would eliminate the need for as many variances,” according to City Planner Denise Januska,
“Definitions were cleaned up for better understanding of the signs,” Januska added at the city’s Sept. 11 board of zoning appeals meeting, saying the code was updated to include signs featuring flat panel and LED displays.
Januska said the city’s planning commission will review and discuss a draft of the sign code tonight (Sept. 18).
Planning-Zoning-Building Director Rich Wehrenberg said feedback from city officials was encouraged.
“When the review is completed, the planning commission will forward the ordinance to City Council,” Wehrenberg said, adding that because this is a change to city legislation, Council will have a public hearing as part of the review process.
He noted there is no timetable for the review of the code update and the commissioners can take as much time as needed.
Christopher Doozan of McKenna Associates, a firm that specializes in city planning and zoning, told members of the planning commission Sept. 4 that the goals of the sign code were to maintain compliance with state and federal laws, be user friendly, address business needs and build on the existing ordinance.
“The procedures that were followed involved participation by key stakeholders,” Doozan said.
He added this included three focus groups involving commercial businesses, industrial businesses and members of the architectural board of review, the landmark commission and the BZA.
“A visual preference survey was conducted in order to get a general idea of what types of signs the participants liked or disliked,” he said, noting there was a thorough review and critique of the existing sign ordinance.
“All this information was used to develop the first draft of the sign ordinance,” he said.
Planning commission member Maria Hydell, a former BZA member, said at the recent meeting that she thought the proposed document addressed the weaknesses in the current sign code.
Jack Burge, the city’s economic development director who is also a sign company owner, said at the meeting that the city’s sign code has always been one of the most restrictive in regard to the square footage requirement.
Burge said the new sign code is “headed in the right direction in addressing that issue.”
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Twitter: Mike Lesko@MikeLesko_RPC