The Troy City Council instated a moratorium on issuing permits for 200-square-foot electronic signs like this one on Rochester Road, south of Square Lake Road, while city staff drafts changes to the sign ordinance.

The Troy City Council instated a moratorium on issuing permits for 200-square-foot electronic signs like this one on Rochester Road, south of Square Lake Road, while city staff drafts changes to the sign ordinance.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes


Troy City Council extends sign moratorium, pending changes

By: Terry Oparka | Troy Times | Published June 5, 2018

TROY — The Troy City Council unanimously extended a temporary moratorium on processing applications for large, billboard-type electronic signs while city staff finishes new guidelines that the council will consider later this month. 

The council extended the 180-day moratorium, first approved Dec. 4, 2017, at its May 21 meeting. 

City Councilman Dave Henderson proposed the initial moratorium after five new 200-square-foot signs were constructed in the city. One is located on Dequindre Road, north of 14 Mile Road; three are on Rochester Road — one south of Long Lake Road and two south of Wattles Road; and one is on Maple Road, at John R Road. 

“We have observed all five running,” said Paul Evans, Troy zoning and compliance specialist. 

Evans said that final inspections were completed on four of the five signs in late April and early May and entailed things such as ensuring sod was replanted. 

The final inspection for the sign on Rochester Road, near Charrington Drive, was completed Dec. 21, 2017. The signs have been in operation, with approval conditional on restoring the sites, since early December. 

In addition to those five signs, permits had been approved for 200-square-foot signs to be constructed on Livernois Road, just north of Maple Road, and on Maple Road, west of Dequindre Road and west of Stephenson Highway. However, those permits were immediately revoked upon imposition of the moratorium, before construction began, Evans said. 

City staff alerted the council about the billboard-type signs in 2017. In the council reports for the City Council’s Feb. 6, 2017, meeting, then-Economic and Community Development Director Mark Miller, city Planning Director R. Brent Savidant and Evans wrote a joint letter to then-City Manager Brian Kischnick regarding “sign permit application status.” 

The letter states that “the Planning Department has received applications for identical ground signs at three separate locations. It is possible staff or council could receive questions from the public regarding the signs. The intent of this report is to inform you of the pending applications.

“The properties are located on (business) zoning districts. Each sign computes to 200 square feet in area, 25 feet height, leading edge setback 30 feet from the right of way. Subject to minor design changes related to the support structure, the applications comply with the sign ordinance.” 

The council took no action on the matter at that time except to note and file the report. 

“We dropped the ball. We’re on it now,” Councilman Ed Pennington said at the Nov. 20, 2017, City Council meeting. Councilwoman Ellen Hodorek apologized for initially “missing it.” 

Mayor Dane Slater noted at that meeting that the sign ordinance was written 30 years ago. 

Residents voiced concerns at the Nov. 20 meeting that centered on safety. Some said the signs are not a good fit with the city’s master plan, and some had concerns about the content of the signs. 

No one spoke on the moratorium at the May 21 meeting prior to the council vote. 

Troy City Attorney Lori Grigg Bluhm said that city staff plans to have a draft of the revisions to the ordinance to the City Council for an initial review June 18, which will be followed by a vote on the matter July 9. 

The temporary extension of the moratorium, which was set to expire June 2, was needed because “we didn’t want signs approved before the laws change,” Grigg Bluhm said. 

Randy Norman, the owner of Randy’s Eli of Troy Menswear — on Rochester Road, north of Long Lake Road — said his ad went live on a sign near his store this past spring. 

He said he received one email from someone who was not a customer stating that he wasn’t happy with the electronic ad and wouldn’t shop at the store. 

Other than that, Norman said, he’s had “nothing but positive feedback.”