This electronic sign at 1975 E. Maple Road, just west of John R Road, has not yet been turned on.

This electronic sign at 1975 E. Maple Road, just west of John R Road, has not yet been turned on.

File photo by Deb Jacques

Troy: Some ‘billboard’ signs don’t comply

By: Terry Oparka | Troy Times | Published January 23, 2018

TROY — The recently erected 200-square-foot electronic signs described as “billboards” that sparked controversy in Troy have not been activated — yet. 

Gary Bowers, a housing and zoning inspector for the city of Troy, said stop work orders were issued on the signs approximately four weeks ago. 

“Some of the signs had alterations not identified in the original plan submitted,” Bowers said. “They have to be in total compliance. At this point, the signs do not comply. They haven’t corrected them (the alterations). None of them are energized yet.”

The alterations include mounted cameras that extend the width of the sign and two catwalks when only one was approved. 

Bowers said the stop work orders were removed from all of the signs Jan. 19. 

“Work may now continue on the signs; they are not allowed to be energized, as a few issues must still be addressed,” Bowers said via email. 

Once they are operational, the signs will be able to circulate a different message every minute. 

On Dec. 4, the Troy City Council amended a prior moratorium on all signs to allow business owners who plan to open soon to install signs, unanimously approving a new, up to 180-day moratorium on processing permits for digital signs, ground signs exceeding 36 square feet and any ground sign that exceeds a height of 10 feet. The new moratorium allows business owners who had submitted applications for wall signs up to 150 square feet to proceed.

The council approved the first moratorium Nov. 20 in response to the five new, 200-square-foot signs constructed in November along stretches of Rochester Road and Maple Road. The signs had prompted complaints and concerns from residents ranging from distraction to drivers to drops in property values. 

Permits have been approved for additional 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, but those signs had not been constructed at press time. 

In the council reports for the City Council’s Feb. 6, 2017, meeting, Economic and Community Development Director Mark Miller, Planning Director  R. Brent Savidant, and Zoning and Compliance Specialist Paul Evans wrote a joint letter to City Manager Brian Kischnick regarding a “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, but noted and filed the report. 

Troy City Attorney Lori Grigg-Bluhm said that city administrators are finishing up a preliminary draft of proposed changes to the sign ordinance and expect it to go before the council for consideration next month. 

The company listed on the application for the sign permits, Troy Outdoor LLC, could not be reached for comment by press time.