Video animation could soon be a thing of the past on signs around the Gem City. The Laramie City Council unanimously passed amending Title 15 of the Laramie Municipal Code which deals with signs on first reading Tuesday night. The public hearing has been set for May 8, 2012.

Changes in the code would cease all video animation on signs and require Electronic Message Centers (EMCs) to hold frames for four seconds per static graphic display, limiting transitions to 15 per minute. The proposed code also puts tighter restrictions on the size of signs in terms of square feet or in the case of wall signs, the percentage of a wall a sign can take up. Another big impact would be a change in height allowance for signs on the I-80 Corridor, lowering signs to 40 feet from the interstate highway grade. You can read the proposed sign code in its entirety by clicking here.

Several council members wanted to postpone the first reading until after the public hearing and a work session. Councilor Lee Kempert disagreed, saying that he wanted to show the businesses they’re serious about the changes. An amendment to postpone first reading until May 15 failed by one vote.

Councilor Karl McCraken acknowledged his conflict of interest in areas dealing with EMC’s because he owns the largest outside of those contained within War Memorial Stadium. He will withhold from voting on any amendments to the code dealing with EMC’s but will continue to vote on amending the ordinance as a whole.

The sign code has not been substantially changed since it was adopted in 1964. The update is part of the Comprehensive Plan, which recommends all development codes be updated (the animal ordinance was also recently overhauled). The process began in 2008 and has worked its way through the Laramie Planning Commission with a Sign Ordinance Revision Task Force which put forth a Public Review Draft in July of 2010. The Draft Sign Code then received further recommendations from the Planning Commission and the Chamber of Commerce before it was brought to the Laramie City Council.