Electronic Message Center Signs Ordinance Johnston Iowa

The Johnston City Council held a public hearing on February 4, 2019, and approved the first reading of an amendment to the ordinance governing Electronic Message Center Signs. Current policy limits Electronic Message Center Signs to displaying only one color at a time. The proposed change would remove that restriction – permitting Electronic Message Center Signs to have multiple colors as illustrated below. Restrictions on illumination were also added.

If approved, the Ordinance would read as follows:

“170.09(1)(E) Monument signs may contain areas for manual changeable copy or electronic message centers, provided such sign area does not exceed fifty percent (50%) of the sign area of the sign. Electronic message centers are further regulated as follows:

  • Electronic message center copy may change no more than once per a five (5) minute period and shall not include any flashing, flowing, alternating or blinking lights. Exempt from the time regulations are Amber Alerts and emergency messages.
  • Electronic message centers shall be integral to and a part of an approved monument sign.
  • Electronic message centers may not exceed a maximum illumination of 5,000 candelas per square meter during daylight hours and a maximum illumination of 500 candelas per square meter between dusk to dawn as measured from the sign’s face at maximum brightness.”

There was some discussion about a Planning & Zoning Commission recommendation to remove the size limitation of the Electronic Message Center Sign (50% of the sign area), but that was not accepted by the Council at first reading.

Businesses with an interest in the operation of Electronic Message Center Signs may wish to communicate with members of the Council prior to final action.