BY JOETTE KUNSE
Special to the Clarkston News
The sign debate continues.
At the Independence Township Board of Trustees meeting, August 25, board members voted 5-2 to send the revised sign ordinance with new language for electronic messaging signs (EMS) back to the Independence Township Planning Commission to consider background color and code enforcement.
Independence Township Supervisor Pat Kittle made the motion to send the 25-page ordinance to the planning commission with Trustees Jose Aliaga, Terri Nallamothu and Paul Brown and Treasurer Rachel Loughrin voting “yes.” Township clerk Cari Neubeck and Trustee Ron Ritchie voted “no.” Ritchie also sits on the planning commission as a liaison for the board.
“This ordinance is heads above those on Dixie Highway,” said Neubeck. “Electronic imaging signs are the wave of the future.”
Forrest Milzow, owner of Deer Lake Athletic Club on Dixie Highway, spoke at the meeting in favor of the EMS signage.
Greg Gumtow, part owner of Cherry Hill Lanes North bowling center on Dixie Highway, said he would give EMS signage serious consideration.
“EMS signage is more economical to operate, and has more visibility,” Gumtow said. “I have a three-acre parcel but only 90 feet of frontage on Dixie Highway, so people driving by are not seeing the bowling alley. I have to have a sign.”
Jason Haley, owner of the Ace Hardware on Dixie, added, “As a community-based hardware store, consumers come here to fulfill a need to repair, fix or maintain their home, or to shop. To that end, there is nothing we could ever put on a flashing sign that would bring a customer inside. Additionally, unless you are in Las Vegas, we feel the signs detract from the ambiance of our store and community.”
Ryan Pizzo, manager of Neiman’s Market, also located on Dixie, chimed in, saying, “Neiman’s has EMS signs at some of our other locations. We share the sign with other plaza businesses. We put ads, hot prices, and events, such as our Ribfest on the sign.”
Brian Oppmann, the planning and zoning manager for Independence Township, said banks, gas stations and credit unions are among several local businesses asking for the EMS signs.
He said the planning commission will have some discussion on the topic at its Sept. 10 meeting and it will be an agenda item on the October 8 meeting. Both meetings can be accessed online via the link on the Independence Township website, indtwp.com.