Thursday, August 30, 2012
Algonquin Seeks Moratorium On High-Tech Billboards
"It's a 240 square-foot TV set," fumed Algonquin Community Development Director Russ Farnum describing a huge new Light Emiting Diode sign McHenry County approved for installation on Algonquin Road near Dennis Ave. An application's pending for a similar billboard on Route 31 between Oakwood and Linden. Although both locations lie within Algonquin they aren't officially part of it so the Village's restrictive sign regs don't count.
McHenry County's current ordinance for unincorporated areas doesn't specifically cover LED billboards, although it probably will pretty soon. The first draft of a Unified Development Ordinance is due out next week, according to Planning and Development Director Dennis Sandquist who said there's been a spate of LED sign applications trying to beat expected new rules. "What's interesting," he said, "is how (the companies) knew about it. It hasn't been widely disseminated."
Algonquin Board members gave first approval this week to a Village resolution requesting a moratorium on McHenry County LED sign permits until the new UDO's enacted. It cites several safety concerns but also a recent study that found homes "within a community where billboards are present, experience a decrease of $947 for every billboard in that community."
A spokesman for Billboards, Inc., Dyer, IN, the company that will erect the Algonquin Road sign, said its owner would not comment. There was no response, either, from Mixed Media of Cary, the applicant for the sign on Route 31.
Sandquist said a hearing on McHenry County's UDO will be set in late September. That was too long for the City of Crystal Lake to wait earlier this month. Earlier this month the City Council voted to annex a property to block an LED billboard proposed there.
In the pic: Under current McHenry County rules LED signs like this one in Cook County can change messages every eight seconds.