Tooele Transcript Bulletin – News in Tooele, Utah
image The electric sign at Tooele’s Mountain America Credit Union is similar to the one MACU wants to erect at its new Stansbury Park branch, which is still under construction. Tooele County is considering changing its ordinances regarding electric signs.

October 22, 2013
Electronic signs push county to make changes

As more businesses sprout on SR-36 between I-80 and Tooele City, so too will signs that advertise their presence.

One business that is building along the SR-36 corridor has included in its site plan a modern electronic sign that displays more than date, time, and temperature.

Mountain America Credit Union wants to put an electronic message center at its new Stansbury Park location at the intersection of SR-36 and SR-138.

To build the modern message center, Tooele County code will need to change.

“With technology, signs have changed dramatically,” said Tooele County Planner Kerry Beutler. “The one you might have at a bank that shows just the date, time, and temperature, the way that information is displayed has changed dramatically.”

Electronic message centers are signs that are on the same location of a business and use an electronic panel to display a changing array of information about the business.

“We are not talking about billboards,” said Beutler.

The proposed sign at the Stansbury location will be similar to the electronic sign already in place at MACU’s Tooele City location on Main Street.

Current county ordinance restricts electronic message signs to only display date, time, temperature and community events. No commercial information or advertisements are allowed.

Braxton Schenk, owner of Freedom LED Signs, who installed the MACU electronic message center in Tooele, wants Tooele County to change its ordinances to allow electronic message centers that contain commercial messages displayed with modern technology.

“Marketing has changed with technology,” said Schenk. “Newspaper has competition. Radio is hard. You have people that listen to iPhones with preset radio with no commercials. Everybody is looking for ways to advertise their business and these signs do work.”

The Tooele County Commissioners spent over an hour at their Oct. 2 meeting discussing changes to ordinances that restrict electronic message centers.

Draft language of changes in Tooele County code that emerged from the planning commission included language governing brightness, animation, background, and placement of electronic message centers.

The changes generally require that electronic message centers be associated with permitted on-premise signs and not cause a nuisance.

Specifically, special effects that will be allowed for electronic message centers include dissolve, fade, instantaneous, static, animation, scrolling and traveling will be allowed.

Flashing, blank white, blinking, and starbursts are not be allowed under the proposed changes.

Three seconds are required between complete screen changes.

The ordinance also limits the amount of white background and requires the use of photocell technology to automatically adjust to light conditions.

Electronic message centers within 300 feet of a residential area will be required to be shut off between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m.

The planning commission will consider the proposed ordinance changes at its Nov. 19 meeting at 7 p.m. in the county building.

Tim Gillie

Staff Writer at Tooele Transcript Bulletin
Tim covers education, Tooele City government, business, real estate, politics and the state Legislature. He became a journalist after a long career as an executive with the Boy Scouts of America. Tim is a native of Washington state and a graduate of Central Washington University.

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