Sugar Hill sign ordinance ready for City Council vote

SUGAR HILL -- After nearly six months of fine tuning, Sugar Hill's revised sign ordinance is scheduled for its city council's vote at its monthly meeting Monday.

The ordinance's wording was finalized at the council's monthly work session Monday night, when it agreed on peculiar language governing illuminated signs' dynamic displays and movement of text and graphics.

Kaipo Awana, Sugar Hill's director of planning and development, said he and Tim Schick, the city's planner, initially felt a more specific ordinance was needed late last year, as increasingly complex questions arose in the sign application review process. Honed to meet aesthetics standards and to minimize distraction to motorists, the ordinance requires that the size of signs be tied to businesses' square footage. It also addresses the intervals at which animated graphics can move and text can transition.

Though the council repeatedly asked him to refine the ordinance, Awana said he never became dismayed by the process and feels a stronger ordinance ultimately developed.

"(Council members) brought up some good questions, and the debate has ironed out the kinks," Awana said. "In the end, the ordinances will be better for it, too. Sign ordinances tend to be pretty complicated."

Specifically, the ordinances govern businesses' use of temporary signs, such as banners proclaiming sales, etc. The ordinance governs use of helium balloons, search lights and the like.

Monuments at entrances to residential subdivisions are limited to one on each side of the entrance. They must be made of brick or stone and be no larger than 24 square feet or eight feet high.

The most complicated parts of the ordinance addressed the brightness of illuminated signs, particularly those that revolve or have dynamic graphic and text. Influenced by ordinances from Gwinnett and Cobb counties, Sugar Hill's council ultimately required text remain stagnant for a minimum of 20 seconds.