The Cleveland Municipal Planning Commission voted to allow larger LED signs within the city limits at its meeting Tuesday.
The motion passed 6-1 with planning commission member Maryl Elliott as the lone dissenting vote.
Elliott said she voted against allowing bigger signs because when she was on a committee that studied the signs in the past, the signs seemed “offensive” to the area.
“Our general feeling was we were negative about them. I know they are probably coming and they are here. My concern would be that it just doesn’t allow a whole barrage of new LED signs, because they are somewhat offensive,” Elliott said.
She said there are several variables that need to be considered, and that is why the larger signs have not been allowed before now.
Ordinance changes allow signs up to 100 square feet for businesses that own “at least 100,000 square feet of finished area located within the CH Commercial Highway Zoning District,” according to the ordinance description.
Changes also put more restriction on LED signs, stating that they cannot be within 300 feet of a residential area. Any existing signs would be grandfathered in, and not be required to be removed.
Council and planning commission member George Poe said the restrictions would mean not many business owners could install the larger signs.
The new requirements state LED signs larger than 50 square feet must be at least 1,000 square feet apart.
The changes do not affect the ordinance previously passed regarding the Interstate Gateway Corridor Zoning District allowance of signs.
Complaints about a sign on the corner of North Ocoee and 25th streets were voiced during the meeting.
Development and engineering director Jonathan Jobe said city staff also needed to start enforcing the LED code limitations more than they are currently.
Member Larry Presswood said he would like to see the planning staff and commission study areas that have similar signs before the vote.
City planner Corey Divel said the city already has a request for a LED sign larger than the currently permitted 50 square feet.
Also during the meeting, the planning commission delayed a vote on applying the newly formed Inman Street East zoning district to Inman Street from Bible Street to Hill Street.
Community member Alma Dotson voiced concerns during the meeting.
“There is a lot of history over there,” Dotson said. “I am not very pleased right now with the expeditiousness that has been taken in this. I think it needs to be studied a little bit more. We need to bring a lot more people on board to understand what is going on.”
She said there are some parts of the zoning changes that she feels would be beneficial but she wants people in the community to understand what the zoning change would mean.
The planning commission voted to delay the vote until the July meeting. Dotson said this would give her the time needed to read the ordinance and help community members become more aware of the proposed changes.
“I don’t feel the clarity has been given,” Dotson said.
One concern was if the new zoning district would allow multiple family housing.
“We don’t want multiple housing down there,” Dotson said.
She said she wanted time to read the ordinance to be sure this would not be allowed.
“It will probably be fine, but I would rather be at peace than [have] lot of unnecessary uproar,” Dotson said.
The new zoning district is being suggested to allow further development of the area by reducing the setback requirements. The new zoning could also allow for sidewalks and trees to line the street in the area.
Any existing business would be grandfathered in as an accepted use. No existing business would be forced to close.
The planning commission passed the following motions:
- Plan of service and annexation for property on Holloway Road near the south industrial park;
- Alternative setback for a house being built in Berywood Cottages Subdivision;
- “Request by Lynn Wagner to change from one non-conforming use to a less offensive non-conforming use on property located at 1685 King Edward Ave. S.E.”; and
- A rezoning request for a Georgetown Road and Glenwood Drive from R1 Single Family Residential to R3 High Density Residential.