Friday, February 11, 2011

No flashing signs in Hailey

P&Z adjourns until business picks up


By TONY EVANS
Express Staff Writer

Blinking-lighted "open" signs on businesses will not be allowed in Hailey.

The decision was made Monday as the Hailey Planning and Zoning Commission wound down in preparation for a hiatus, due to a lack of building-permit applications.

A staff-initiated ordinance change would have allowed one flashing "open" sign, measuring 4 square feet or less for each business. All flashing signs are prohibited by city ordinance, along with pennants, propellers and balloons.

The Community Development Department proposed the ordinance change after being notified that some businesses were using flashing signs to attract business, in violation of the city's code.

Commissioner Janet Fugate said flashing signs would "change the character" of Main Street and could confuse drivers who have come to associate flashing signs with emergency vehicles and crosswalks.

Commissioners Fugate, Michael Pogue and Mark Johnstone voted against the proposed change.

"I would hate to see Hailey start to look like Los Angeles," Johnstone said.

Owen Scanlon and Geoffrey Moore voted in favor of allowing flashing signs.

Scanlon said he researched the use of flashing signs in other cities and found that they were not very effective at attracting businesses, compared with signs that are lit continuously. Nevertheless, he said he voted in favor because of their potential to help local businesses thrive.

"It (a no vote) seemed like one more slash against businesses trying to stay open," he said.

Community Development Director Beth Robrahn, formerly the Hailey planning director, told the commissioners that their next two scheduled meetings would not take place because there were no building permit applications to address.

"There is nothing else until we get an application," Robrahn said, adding that "there are always little tweaks to our design review standards we could make. They are never perfect."

Robrahn said she would be busy organizing public input on zoning issues related to property under the Friedman Memorial Airport in anticipation of the airport relocation.

The P&Z will meet again on March 21.

Tony Evans: tevans@mtexpress.com




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