Council approves changes to roadside sign

By K. Lamorris Waller

As part of the many developments and renovations taking place this year, Urbana City Council members have approved two ordinances presented by The Atkins Group after a recommendation from the Zoning Board of Appeals. The first will allow an electronic message board to change its frequency of message changes from every three minutes to every ten seconds. The second enables the message board to display multicolors.

“The council’s ultimate goal is to encourage all Urbana residents to spend their money in their own city instead of going everywhere else,” said Lynne Barnes, Ward 7. “I’m all for it and we should support the developers.”

The Atkins Group is developing a general business project located on the southwest corner of Windsor and Philo roads called The Pine at Stone Creek Commons. The main purpose of this message board is to help the future shopping center have more visibility on those streets without building an oversized shopping center or putting up several smaller advertising signs. As a result, the sign itself will not be large, but will still provide proper advertising of logos for the retail stores and community announcements.

The Atkins Group requested a multicolored sign because these types of signs are becoming more common with shopping centers nationwide and they allow easy recognition of store logos and symbols. This type of sign also allows motorists to see all the businesses in the shopping center before passing the sign. The visibility of this message board worried Dennis Roberts, Ward 5, because of the dangers of drivers trying to read everything on the board while driving.

“It seems like if we try to squeeze in all the stores, people will be distracted,” he said. “To avoid traffic accidents, maybe we should increase the time to twenty seconds.”

However, the developer reassured the council that there haven’t been any reports saying less time between electronic board messages contribute to traffic accidents in busy intersections.

“These types of signs are important to businesses,” said Danielle Chynoweth, Ward 2. “Having one big sign that can be seen from a distance would be better than having many signs on a single block.”