Moscow City Council approves temporary ordinance of Dynamic signs

MOSCOW, ID - The Moscow City Council passed an emergency ordinance that regulates dynamic display signs that are internally lit signs with a changing message.

Until now, there was no regulation that distinguished between a dynamic display and a regular internally lit sign. But now that there are 12 signs throughout the city, the council decided that a regulation was needed.

"With no emergency ordinance, we could have a flashing, huge billboard," said council member Susan.

There are already a couple of large billboards along Highway 8, and citizens have spoke up about Tri-State's in particular. Some people don't like the way they look, but they say that more than anything, it's a safety issue especially at night.

"Is it dangerous?," said council member Wayne Krauss. "Comments I've heard range anywhere from 'What sign?' to me that's somebody who doesn't even go out there, to 'Ya, wow I almost rear-ended somebody.'"

Businesses see the signs as an investment. Tri-State spent about $150,000 on their sign, and they were happy to hear that they are already abiding by the new regulations.

"We've noticed since installing the sign, we've had great community feedback," said Tri-State employee. "We have a lot of customers coming in saying they love the sign, and it has increased traffic overall."

Dynamic display signs come in all different shapes and sizes. Some are more simple, like this marquee and some are more complex. City Council is regulating them so that businesses can attract customers without distracting drivers."

Now that the emergency ordinance has passed, the council has 182 days to develop a sub-committee and come up with a permanent law.

"Hopefully we can come up with an ordinance that takes a lot of these sign's abilities and their functionality into account and allow you guys to use what you spent your money on, to a point," said council member Dan Carscallen.

Businesses with dynamic display signs will be on the committee that comes up with the permanent regulations. Some of the factors they will have to consider are message duration, the transition time between messages, and the brightness of the sign, and size limitations. Under the current emergency ordinance, each message must be displayed for at least 5 seconds with one second transitions. There cannot be any bursting or flashing animation and new signs cannot be more than 100 square feet. Current signs that exceed that are considered exceptions.