Planning Commission still reviewing Lincoln Township sign ordinance

By Tony Wittkowski | Business Reporter | The Herald-Palladium

STEVENSVILLE — Lincoln Township residents could be seeing less of those tall business signs that can be seen from the freeway.

The Planning Commission conducted a public hearing at the township’s municipal building in December to consider amending regulations for certain types of signs within the zoning ordinance. Commissioners are looking to include more monument signs in the community, which are short in stature with no long pole to hold them up.

Trustee Marc Florian, who holds a seat on the Planning Commission, gave board members an update Tuesday concerning a sign ordinance that would restrict towering signs along Red Arrow Highway.

Florian said the amendment was sent back to the planner and the township’s attorney to be reviewed.

“The Planning Commission’s intent was to reduce the number of those great big signs that we’ve got throughout the township,” Florian told trustees Tuesday. “Down by (I-94), there are large signs on top of poles. When one of those signs falls down, when one of those signs breaks or the property changes hands to something else – we would like to see those signs changed to monument signs.”

Supervisor Dick Stauffer said the best example of what a monument sign looks like is the one installed at the new BP gas station on the corner of Glenlord Road and Red Arrow Highway.

Florian said the main reason commissioners are pushing the amendment is because the signs are considered to be “eye sores” and that they are no longer needed.

“Everybody has navigation on their cell phones when they are driving down the highway. They are not on the lookout for those signs anymore,” he said. “But we have to be legal. We are not sure what we can do as a Planning Commission, so we’ve asked for the planner and the attorney to draft a solution that is sound and will stand the test of courts – if necessary.”

Planning Commission Chairman Mike Freehling said there is no time line for when they will send a recommendation to amend the ordinance to trustees.

“We’ll try to get it to them when everything checks out,” he said. “There was some confusion to make sure we are getting it the way we want it to be. There’s not much progress on that since it was first introduced.”

Hotels vs. motels

During the same December public hearing, commissioners looked at amending regulations applicable to motels and hotels within the zoning district along Red Arrow Highway.

Trustees were supposed to have a first reading of the zoning amendment for motels during Tuesday’s meeting. However, it was removed from the agenda because the Planning Commission sent it to the township’s attorney to review the language.

The amendment called for the maximum height for potential hotels to be three stories, instead of the two and a half stories that has caused a few hassles among developers.

The amendment would eliminate any incoming motels in the district. Freehling said existing motels, such as the Super 8 along Red Arrow, would be grandfathered into the amended ordinance.

Freehling said it was important they define the difference between a hotel and motel. According to the zoning amendment, a hotel is considered to be a building with interior corridors that link to guest rooms, where as a motel has exterior corridors.

Contact Tony Wittkowski at twittkowski@TheHP.com or (269) 932-0358. Follow him on Twitter: @tonywittkowski.

(Author’s Note: This article was originally published on Jan. 15, 2016)

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