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November 23, 2017, 02:40:52 pm
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Author Topic: Zoning Update - Digital Display Signage  (Read 3901 times)
PonderInc
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« on: April 22, 2015, 06:12:57 pm »

After doing a bit of research, it seems that Tulsa could improve our zoning regulations related to electronic signs.  Our zoning code is pretty lame in its regulation of "dynamic display" signs, even compared to radical liberal communist cities like...uh...Phoenix and Ft. Worth.

Some cities require electronic signs to be turned off after 11:00 PM.  Some require dwell times up to 30 seconds per image.  Some require much less illumination of the signs.  Etc, etc, etc.

While I care about the dwell time and transition time and animation, I'm most concerned with brightness (blindness!) and the number of signs allowed within a certain distance of each other.

The current/proposed zoning requires billboards to be separated by 1,200' on each side of the freeway.  Thus, we are allowing basically 8 billboards per mile of highway in addition to a gazillion other commercial "on-premise" signs.  Drive across Tulsa on I-44.  Our city looks like a dump, and our sign code is contributing to this.

But back to illumination:

Even the Int'l Sign Association does not recommend Tulsa's way of measuring brightness of these signs.

Tulsa's current/proposed zoning code states:
The maximum brightness level of a dynamic display may not exceed 6,500 nits (candelas per square meter) during daylight hours or 500 nits between 30 minutes after sunset and 30 minutes before sunrise, as those times are determined by the National Weather Service (Actual Time). Brightness must be measured from the brightest element of the sign’s face.

Just FYI - the SUN has a luminescence level of 6,500 nits.  So, I'm glad that our electronic signs can't be any brighter than the sun!

The sign industry actually recommends measuring electronic signs in footcandles, not nits. They recommend that the sign should not exceed a brightness of .3 footcandles above ambient light.  And they specify how far away to measure the brightness, based on the square footage of the sign.  This makes sense, although I think it still results in signs that are way too bright.

Research provided by the Illuminating Engineering Society of North America (IESNA) states that drivers should be subjected to points of brightness no greater than 40 times the average brightness level of their general surroundings; this proportion is known as the contrast ratio. “As roadway lighting and automobile headlights provide ambient nighttime lighting levels of about one nit, this implies signage should appear no brighter than about 40 nits” (Luginbuhl, 2010)

Well, that, or 500....


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sgrizzle
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« Reply #1 on: April 22, 2015, 06:39:24 pm »

Aren't the regulations different for "billboards" vs "business signage"?
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davideinstein
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« Reply #2 on: April 22, 2015, 08:23:25 pm »

I'm all for signs, but the one at 15th and Delaware is just awful. When they flash abruptly it's a distraction for sure.
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PonderInc
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« Reply #3 on: April 22, 2015, 10:31:13 pm »

Unless I'm not understanding something, the illumination limits are the same for electronic billboards and electronic business signs.
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dsjeffries
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« Reply #4 on: April 23, 2015, 08:54:36 am »

The point is our signs are WAY too bright.

The sign in front of the ironically-named Wisdom Center is blindingly bright, as is the Triple Play Car Wash on Brookside. That one is so bright it changes the color of the buildings near it, and I have mistaken it as an emergency vehicle from behind my vehicle before. There is absolutely no reason for it to be so bright.
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« Reply #5 on: April 23, 2015, 02:29:52 pm »

Unless I'm not understanding something, the illumination limits are the same for electronic billboards and electronic business signs.

The business signs I see all over are playing full video, flashing, etc. The billboards at least seem to stick with static images. It's all too bright but bright and flashy is worse.
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patric
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« Reply #6 on: April 23, 2015, 06:02:13 pm »

Aren't the regulations different for "billboards" vs "business signage"?

copied from
http://www.tulsanow.org/forum/index.php?topic=13198.msg232493#msg232493


Wisdom Center, Sonic, etc, fall under the category of on-site "Business Signs"
as opposed to "Outdoor Advertising Signs" like Lamar, Whistler. Stokely...

Go to Neighborhood Inspections at
http://www.cityoftulsa.org/reporting/advertising-sign-violations.aspx

You will have to specifically cite which (and any other applicable) section(s) when you report the violation to Neighborhood Inspections or MAC, otherwise, they wont understand your complaint.
I dont mean for that to sound snobby, but in the past I have had inspectors dispose of complaints because they didn't understand that the complaint was about illegal operation (and not about having a construction permit).


Ordinances that apply to Billboards ("Outdoor Advertising Signs") and "Outdoor Business Signs" (located on the property of the business) are Zoning Code of the City of Tulsa, Title 42 section 1221.   
http://www.incog.org/city%20of%20tulsa%20zoning%20code/Internet%20Zoning%20Code-all%20one%20document.pdf

Section "C" is for on-premise "Business Signs"
while Section "F" is for billboards.




On-site "Business Signs":

C. General Use Conditions for Business Signs
2. Flashing signs, digital signs, changeable copy signs, running light or twinkle signs, animated signs, revolving or rotating signs or signs with movement shall be subject to the following limitations.
f. No such digital sign shall display an illuminative brightness of such intensity or brilliance that it impairs the vision or endangers the safety and welfare of any pedestrian, cyclist, or person operating a motor vehicle.
g. No such digital sign shall resemble or simulate any warning or danger signal, or any official traffic control device, sign, signal or light.



If you find out it's an electronic billboard not on the business owner's property ("Outdoor Advertising Sign") the following would apply:


G. Additional Use Conditions for Digital Outdoor Advertising Signs. In addition to the use conditions prescribed for outdoor advertising signs in subsection 1221.F., digital outdoor advertising signs shall also comply with the following use conditions:
1. Digital outdoor advertising signs shall only display a static message or messages.
2. Digital outdoor advertising signs which display more than one static message shall do so sequentially, with each static message having a dwell time of no less than eight ( 8 ) seconds and a transition time between static messages of no more than one (1) second.
3. Digital outdoor advertising signs shall not display an illuminative brightness exceeding five hundred (500) NITs at any time between one half (1/2) hour after sunset until one half (1/2) hour before sunrise or six thousand five hundred (6,500) NITs between one-half (1/2) hour before sunrise until one-half (1/2) hour after sunset.
4. Use conditions establishing the minimum dwell time and maximum illuminative brightness levels for digital outdoor advertising signs codified in subsection 1221.G. shall be subject to future modification and regulation in the exercise of the City's police powers and no vested right shall ever be created in these use conditions.
5. Digital outdoor advertising signs shall not display an illuminative brightness of such intensity or brilliance that they impair the vision or endanger the safety and welfare of any pedestrian, cyclist, or person operating a motor vehicle.
6. Digital outdoor advertising signs shall not resemble or simulate any warning or danger signal, or any official traffic control devise, sign, signal or light.
7. Digital outdoor advertising signs shall not be permited to operate unless they are equipped with:
a. a default mechanism that shall freeze the sign in one position or static message if a malfunction occurs; and
b. notwithstanding paragraph 1221.G.3., a mechanism able to automatically adjust the display's illuminative brightness according to natural ambient light conditions by means of a light detector/photo cell by which the sign's brightness shall be dimmed.


The biggest complaint is that fast strobing of LED signs can be confused for emergency vehicles' LED lights, however, I recommend you download and read all of the signs section as it may include other violations you may have overlooked. 
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patric
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« Reply #7 on: April 23, 2015, 06:24:28 pm »

I'm all for signs, but the one at 15th and Delaware is just awful. When they flash abruptly it's a distraction for sure.

Drive by the one at 71st and Elwood.  Given the number of people who have died near that intersection, you would think there would be more scrutiny.

Some of our city planners did some good work on LED billboard regulations, only to have it tossed aside by a couple of councilors who went on a junket to OKC.


Some of our past discussions:

Tulsa's led billboards too bright http://www.tulsanow.org/forum/index.php?topic=13198.0
Nits Vs. Lux  http://www.tulsanow.org/forum/index.php?topic=12344.0
Softening rules for billboards  http://www.tulsanow.org/forum/index.php?topic=14863.0


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patric
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« Reply #8 on: April 26, 2015, 09:57:26 am »

LED "Billboard Towers" are all the rage now.

Michael Simkins wants to build a 633-foot, three-sided tower that twists upward from a pedestal to heights taller than the Space Needle. Each wall will bear a sign as large as 30,000 square feet that flashes static and animated advertisements at up to one per every six seconds, shining 24-7 over I-95, I-395 and the Dolphin Expressway.

“The iconic tower will elevate the city’s brand on a global level, enhance the city skyline, and complement and enhance the surrounding community”


Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/news/local/community/miami-dade/article19292724.html#storylink=cpy
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« Reply #9 on: April 26, 2015, 07:20:57 pm »

LED "Billboard Towers" are all the rage now.

Michael Simkins wants to build a 633-foot, three-sided tower that twists upward from a pedestal to heights taller than the Space Needle. Each wall will bear a sign as large as 30,000 square feet that flashes static and animated advertisements at up to one per every six seconds, shining 24-7 over I-95, I-395 and the Dolphin Expressway.

“The iconic tower will elevate the city’s brand on a global level, enhance the city skyline, and complement and enhance the surrounding community”


Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/news/local/community/miami-dade/article19292724.html#storylink=cpy


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patric
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« Reply #10 on: May 14, 2015, 01:23:34 pm »

Looking at the overview handout...

' Our current Code also requires modernization to fill voids with reasonable and predictable regulations, including lighting, screening, dynamic displays, electric vehicle charging, and “green” development practices. '

Dynamic Displays?   Are we referring to LED billboards as "modernization" or am I misreading this?
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patric
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« Reply #11 on: June 23, 2015, 10:17:23 am »

Model sign ordinance:

http://www.montcopa.org/DocumentCenter/View/7070
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« Reply #12 on: June 27, 2015, 11:30:43 am »

Miami says no to plans for a 633-foot high-rise "media tower" featuring LED billboards visible for 20 miles.


http://therealdeal.com/miami/blog/2015/06/26/city-of-miami-puts-the-brakes-on-innovation-tower/




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"Tulsa will lay off police and firemen before we will cut back on unnecessarily wasteful streetlights."  -- March 18, 2009 TulsaNow Forum
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