Discussion On Revisions To Howell Twp. Sign Ordinance Continue
July 25, 2018
Township officials enacted a moratorium on new signs earlier this year, citing the need to amend their current ordinance to provide clarity and consistency. The moratorium recently expired, prompting officials to enact a second one earlier this month. The township’s Planning Commission met Tuesday to review the proposed amendments to the ordinance and shared whether they were on board with them or felt there were further changes still needed.
One of the amendments would allow digital billboards in the township, though highly regulates them. The current state law does not allow municipalities to ban static billboards, but does give them the authority to prohibit digital ones. Commissioner Peter Manwiller is against digital billboards entirely, saying evidence suggests they pose a threat to traffic safety. Commissioner Wayne Williams on the other hand is in favor of electronic billboards as they do not fade and deteriorate like static ones.
Other amendments include requiring site plan approval, whereas before only administrative review and a permit was needed. Township Planner Paul Montagno said he’d take the board’s thoughts into consideration and bring the amendments with the suggested changes back for further discussion next month.
The amendments have caused some controversy as the moratorium was enacted after the American Legion Devereaux Post 141 at Grand River and M-59 had proposed to put up an electronic billboard on its property, leaving their application in limbo. One proposed amendment that could affect their ability to put the sign up prohibits billboards within 1,000 ft. of an intersection or interchange. Though township officials say they have not measured the exact distance, the Legion’s proximity to the Grand River and M-59 intersection could effectively preclude their sign as currently proposed.
Lawyer Bill Fahey is also seeking further clarification from the Michigan Department of Transportation regarding their ability to prohibit digital signs on those federally funded highways. (DK)