Wyoming council looks at sign rules

Amy Doeun
Wyoming Reporter

Signs were a prominent discussion at the Wyoming City Council meeting on Aug. 14.

Christine Nelson lives in Stacy but works at the State Bank in Wyoming. She addressed the city council, thanking the planning commission for its hard work on modifying the sign ordinance but offered some suggestions of her own.

“The ordinance is written in a format that is kind of hard to understand with all the exemptions,” she said. She singled out the one-minute hold time for dynamic signs as a problem, arguing that it is too long a requirement.

Daryl Kirt then addressed the council. He suggested a change in the ordinance that would measure from “ambient light” for the brightness of dynamic signs versus sign nits (a precise unit measuring luminescence), as stated in the ordinance. Kirt said that a $10,000 machine is required to accurately measure nits.

“Only one city in the state has the machine and it is Bloomington,” he said.

“I went through the whole thing with the Planning [Commission],” Councilman Don Waller said of the sign ordinance. “Some of it is repetitive and could be shortened. Some of it could be simplified so that you don’t need a lawyer to understand it. I think it would be worthwhile going back and shortening the whole thing.”

Planning Commission member Judy Coughlin then addressed the council.

“You don’t need a lawyer to understand it,” she said of the ordinance. “The city has [building official] Fred [Weck], and he understands that very well. The nit is something the manufacturer sets. If there was ever any complaint that something was too bright, we would go back to the manufacturer.”

She also addressed the concerns about the length of display time.

“We set the 60 seconds for public safety,” she said. “At 35 mph, you are traveling 44 feet per second. How far can you see ahead? You wouldn’t be able to see more signs [even if the time was shortened].”

Mayor Lisa Iverson encouraged the council to pass the modified ordinance at that meeting and then send it back to the Planning Commission for further review.

After a lengthy discussion, the ordinance was passed with some changes. The time of display was changed to 8 seconds and now allows for fade ins and fade outs.

The ordinance passed, with Yeager and Waller opposing.

Other business

The city also voted unanimously to hire Stacey Saxe for the accounting clerk position. She will begin working on Sept. 11.

Public Safety Director Paul Hoppe also requested that the council consider hiring a part-time crime analyst. The position would not exceed 24 hours a week.

“We have seen a 50 percent increase in overall service demands for police services between 2013 and 2016 and are on pace for a 15 percent increase between 2016 and 2017,” he told the council.

“As our service demands increase, so goes the volume of work for our clerical staff, who process the back side reporting requirements. Our records clerk position is one of the busiest positions in the department and is the initial point of contact for our citizens calling or walking into the police stations.”

Hoppe proposed creating a “non-sworn part-time crime analyst position” that would help do clerical work as well as assist with investigations. The council voted 3-2 to hire a part-time employee for the proposed position. Yeager and Waller opposed.