OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – After complaints of decaying, faded and broken down signs seen outside Oklahoma City businesses and along metro streets, the city is now taking steps to spruce things up.
“Day one, the city is not going to go out and cite everybody,” said Lisa Chronister, the Assistant Planning Director for OKC.
Chronister said if the Oklahoma City Council passes new and updated signage codes, the city would be able to tear down dilapidated and abandoned signs.
“Perfect timing, right?” said Shaun Branch, owner of Eden Rose Dispensary.
Branch told News 4 he read about the potential changes and had some concerns because fixing business signs can be very expensive.
“You’re looking at a time where we’re just getting out of COVID [and] inflation. Everybody’s having problems,” said Branch. “Our sign has been damaged several times over the past three years. Just for the panel of our sign to get redone would be about $5,000.”
Chronister said under the proposed rules, before the city council could act, a complaint would need to be called in.
“Someone would have to call it in, code enforcement would go and inspect to see what the situation is, and talk with the property owner,” said Chronister.
She said if that and a fine doesn’t get the message across, the decision to take down the sign would go to the city council.
“There’s always time for the property owner to make improvements before any citations or legal processes happen,” said Chronister.
There are also updated codes for electronic message displays, billboards, monument signs and murals.
Chronister said they will be regulated to protect people living in nearby neighborhoods from the bright lights.
“We’ve also increased the distance of EMD signs from 150 feet to 300 feet from neighborhoods,” said Chronister.
The city said most billboard sizes will stay the same as they are now, but there are some downtown and commercial areas where new billboards will be limited to 200 square feet and at 20 feet high.
The city is also incentivizing in-ground monument signs over by allowing more signage space than a pole sign.
The updated rules would also impact murals. Right now, text can only cover 10% of a mural. If the artists wants more text, they can ask the Arts Commission, who’s working on a set of rules.
Branch asked News 4 what would happen if Oklahoma’s severe weather hit and destroyed his current business sign.
“Are they grandfathering people in? That would make sense,” said Branch.
“People can keep their existing signs, they can maintain them, they can replace them, they can put in a new sign face without having to come into compliance with the new code,” said Chronister.
The Oklahoma city Council is set to vote on the new rules on October 25th.