Florence leaders to evaluate sign ordinance to keep up with technology

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FLORENCE, Ala. – The city of Florence is taking a long look at their current sign ordinance. They say technology is forcing them to address a brightness issue, along with distractions.

They push dinner deals, car washes, even religion. LED signs are popping up along roadways across the country, and presenting an issue for municipalities which has to be addressed.

As the sun sets, the problem becomes even more visible. Brightness levels on LED signage cannot only be bothersome to drivers, but people who live near-by as well.

“The last thing you want to do is create a situation which is harmful to the public in anyway,” said Florence Spokesperson Phil Stevenson.

The Florence Planning Department is taking on the task. They are evaluating the city’s sign ordinance and will possibly amend it to help control how led signs are used.

“There’s a distraction to drivers, there’s the level of brightness that you can get with LED lighting,” explained Stevenson. “So there are a lot of concerns.”

Stevenson said the proposed changes would take those concerns into consideration. Others include light pollution and effects on neighboring properties, property value and environmental concerns.

“It’s human nature to look at a sign, and if you see something being said you pay a little bit more attention to it,” stated Stevenson. “Well that is distracting from driving.”

It could also address how long each slide stays up and how bright the sign can be after dark.

The city of Muscle Shoals just recently adopted a new sign ordinance there, due to complaints about signs near neighborhoods. The ordinance requires owners to use a dimmer switch after sunset, and the city can measure how bright the sign is by using a hand-held device from a pre-calculated distance.

A change in the Florence ordinance is still months away.

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