Aurora officials are taking plenty of time to tweak a new sign code

By Mike Lesko | Aurora Advocate Published:

Aurora's proposed new sign code should be more user friendly, Law Director Dean DePiero said.

"We're hopeful that in the next few weeks, we'll have an ordinance before City Council that we'll be comfortable with. We want to get it right," he said. "We believe it will be more user-friendly."

Mayor Ann Womer Benjamin said during her State of the City address last week that the city is finalizing sign code revisions. Proposed changes include adding definitions for better signage clarification; exempting signs for commercial and industrial real estate, project signs and signs in the rear of the buildings not visible from the road; creating language that will not require a permit for most temporary signage; adding language for electronic display signs.

Also, images have been added to the text to clarify measurement standards; overall total allowance on all signs for a property has been removed; the commercial wall sign square footage measurement has been increased; supplemental signs are allowed in complexes; pedestrian blade signs now are permitted; master sign plans have been removed; and industrial signage has increased.

The city's sign code was last updated in 2002, officials said.

"We're reviewing it to make a few final tweaks," DePiero said. "The intent is that the aesthetic charm and historical character is always kept up. We have to keep that, but also allow businesses to advertise appropriately."

The ordinance, which is on third reading, was placed on hold by council on Jan. 27. DePiero said the city wanted to double-check how the signs would affect the city's historical district.

"There is additional language that will help us maintain the character of the historical district," he said.

Christopher Doozan of McKenna Associates, a firm that specializes in city planning and zoning, previously said the goals of the sign code were to maintain compliance with state and federal laws, be user friendly, address business needs and build on the existing ordinance.

"The procedures that were followed involved participation by key stakeholders," Doozan said.

He added this included three focus groups involving commercial businesses, industrial businesses and members of the architectural board of review, the landmark commission and the board of zoning appeals.

"A visual preference survey was conducted in order to get a general idea of what types of signs the participants liked or disliked," he said, noting there was a thorough review and critique of the existing sign ordinance.

Email: mlesko@recordpub.com

Phone: 330-541-9400 ext. 4187

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Twitter: Mike Lesko@MikeLesko_RPC

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