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McHenry to allow LED signs

Published: Tuesday, April 8, 2014 3:56 p.m. CDT • Updated: Tuesday, April 8, 2014 4:05 p.m. CDT

McHENRY – Businesses will now be able to use LED signs and have extra signs up for their grand openings.

The McHenry City Council passed in a 6-1 vote an overhaul to its sign ordinance at its meeting Monday evening.

The changes are designed to make the sign ordinance "more workable" for businesses, said Alderwoman Geri Condon, chairwoman of the Community Development Committee, which worked on the ordinance.

The ordinance does away with a ban on video-screen signs, but the messages must be programmed to change instantaneously, not scroll, blink or show other types of movement that could be distracting to drivers, Deputy City Administrator Doug Martin said.

Signs must also be equipped with automatic dimming software or solar sensors to control brightness.

The city itself already has one at Petersen Park with another set to be installed at Whispering Oaks Park. The McHenry Public Library and schools also use them.

The ordinance also gives an option to display additional signage for their grand opening beyond what they could do with an ordinary temporary sign permit, which would "a little punch to their advertising," Alderman Victor Santi said.

The sole no vote came from Alderman Andy Glab, who opposed a change that would allow non-profit or charitable organizations to skip City Council approval when getting permission to post signs in city right-of-ways as long as they meet all the criteria laid out in the bill. Any variances still have to go to the council.

The change was proposed because the timing of the requests often don't leave enough time for council approval, Martin said.

Glab also said there should be a charge for temporary signs beyond the refundable deposit because it involves staff time.

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