“Pasco County, which prohibits digital signs for commercial uses, is poised to ease that restriction.
Kind of. Sort of.
If you own 200 acres or have a 35,000-square-foot building with 2,000 seats or 450 parking spots, you can have a digital sign.
So far, that would be the Pasco County Fairgrounds outside Dade City and the Florida Hospital Center Ice complex in Wesley Chapel.
The county commission is considering amending its sign rules to allow the LED signs that rotate messages for so-called regional attractions, defined as tourist destinations that play host to at least 50 events throughout the year.
The proposed change comes 18 months after the Pasco County Fair Association asked for permission to install a digital sign and a year after the grand opening of the ice center, which used a mobile LED sign company to tout the new complex…
Currently, the county’s land development code bans digital signs that change messages. The rules aren’t applicable to government agencies using a flashing message for a public purpose.
That’s why a few public schools and the Pasco Hernando State College campuses have the brightly lit LED signs.
Commissioner Mike Moore said he wanted the commission to carve out a similar exemption for community development districts as part of the ongoing rewrite of the land development code.
The signs also are visible on businesses in some Pasco cities, including Dade City and Port Richey, which allow the digital signs.
‘I’m good with it,’ said Commissioner Kathryn Starkey, who founded Scenic Pasco and advocated for better sign controls in the county in the late 1990s and early 2000s.
Allowing LED signs for regional attractions is the second time the commission has eased its previous hard-line stance on aesthetic controls. Last year, commissioners lifted their ban on all new billboards to allow outdoor advertising companies to swap new LED billboards for traditional signs with static messages…”
— C.T. Bowen, Tampa Bay Times
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“Longboat Key commissioners shelved until after the March elections a sign code town staff have been rewriting for more than a year to meet Supreme Court standards of content neutrality…
The latest iteration of Longboat’s proposed sign code allows, among many other regulations, two temporary signs per property which may be permitted by the property owner or his or her agent for six months. This includes one two-square-foot sign and one four-square-foot sign with a one-square-foot informational rider (like ‘for sale,’ ‘this way,’ etc.).
It was the cost of permitting a sign that gave commissioners trouble. The former code permitted four five-square-foot political signs, which were, and still are, exempt from permitting and the fees accompanying them, according to Code Enforcement Officer Chris Elbon.
‘You think it’s hard getting people to run [for the commission] now, just wait until they have to pay $1,000 for signs,’ said At-Large Commissioner Jim Brown.
Political signs would be treated as any other temporary sign under the new code, all of which would require permitting. District 2 Commissioner George Spoll suggested removing all temporary sign permit requirements for 30 days before an election.
‘[Permit costs] interferes with the most basic part of our democracy, the ability to reach out in an election,’ Spoll said…
Signs exempt from permitting under the proposed code include government signs, signs carried by a person, historical signs and regulatory sings.
Revenue from temporary signs ranges between $300 and $600 each year, said Finance Director Sue Smith…”
— Bret Hauff, YourObserver.com
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Photo: Richard Ramirez Buxeda, Orlando Sentinel
“Church Street Exchange, Grand Avenue Elementary and the former home of the Orlando Ballet are the latest Orlando landmarks to face the prospect of new identities instead of demolition.
The fate of those buildings comes into play as some developers and owners are looking at ‘adaptive reuse,’a movement gaining momentum nationally.
‘I think people are finally realizing that these kind of place-making buildings, you really can’t re-create,’said Richard Forbes, historic preservation officer for Orlando.
Sitting atop some of the most valuable land in Central Florida, the Church Street Exchange in downtown Orlando was recently listed for sale. Grand Avenue Elementary southwest of downtown sits vacant with school officials discussing its fate. And the Orlando Utilities Commission has started weighing options to sell or renovate an Italian Palazzo Revival-style 1920s power plant and one-time arts center overlooking Lake Ivanhoe…
Beyond preserving the charm and character of a building, reused buildings help ignite nearby neighborhoods, said Orlando attorney Kimberly Ashby. She pointed to the former Orange County Courthouse’s renovation as a history museum and the relocation of the Casa Feliz and Capen houses to become cultural venues in Winter Park.
‘It not only repurposes the building, it repurposes the neighborhood and the whole community,’she said.”
Photo: Orange County Regional History Center
“The First National Bank building (left) was designed by Orlando architect Howard M. Reynolds during the Great Depression. In 2017, a Walgreens store moved into the four-story building that once housed the downtown bank….”
–Mary Shanklin, Orlando Sentinel
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Photos: Stephen Hudak, Orlando Sentinel
“Little things add up, said Ramil Celestin as he plucked a beer carton, a plastic grocery bag and a french fry box off the center lane of Pine Hills Road.
He chucked the trash into the back of a county van stacked with illegal road-side signs that shouted: ‘JUNK CARS’ and ‘DELETE YOUR BAD CREDIT.’ He had snatched up those signs, too.
‘Little things can add up to good, they can add up to bad,’ said Celestin, 57, who has worked for about a year as a ‘beautification technician,’ a title created for the job by Michelle Owens, executive director of the Pine Hills Neighborhood Improvement District.
She will address the Orange County commission…on progress in Pine Hills, one of the county’s largest communities and a place fighting to wipe away the stains of crime and blight.
‘We have a lot of exciting things that are beginning to gel in Pine Hills and, going forward, this is all going to have a huge impact on what people think of when they think of Pine Hills,’ Owens said.
Celestin believes he is making a difference in Pine Hills, where he earns $18 an hour to pick up litter and remove ‘snipe’ advertising signs. He usually works three or four mornings a week.
Celestin, also the CEO of a janitorial business, said he picks up enough trash and litter from the roads and sidewalks of Pine Hills in two mornings to fill up a dumpster.
Ramil Celestin dispose of trash he picked up in Pine Hills as part of the community’s effort to improve its image. He works mornings three or four days under the title ‘beautification technician’ and collects enough garbage in two mornings to fill a Dumpster.
‘It was really filthy, really nasty,’ Celestin said, recalling his first week picking up soda cans, cigarette packages, lottery tickets and fast food litter.
His work is a never-ending chore as a street which he cleans Friday is often trashy again by Monday.
‘But I do my best,’ Celestin said.
The tax-supported improvement district also gave ‘trash grabbers’ to some neighborhood businesses to help them tidy their store fronts.
One shop then chose to hire a homeless man to pick up litter in their parking area every week, Owens said…”
–Stephen Hudak, Orlando Sentinel
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“Where I live, the sign tells me that there’s no parking between midnight and 7 a.m. on the 1st to the 16th of the month, except for November to March when there is. No wonder the bulk of the parking tickets I get are from misreading the signs. Then there’s the visual clutter. They are just ugly.
That’s why these new electronic street signs that were installed in Sydney, Australia, are so interesting. They are made with E-Ink, the stuff of Kindles and Nooks, which is readable in sunlight and uses 99 percent less power than LEDs. That’s because it is ‘bi-stable’ — it only consumes power when it’s changing from one color to the other, as if you were flipping a coin. It’s also reflective, not pumping out light like an LED does. So once the sign is set, it holds that message until it’s changed.
Changing signs is expensive. According to Visionect, the company that built the Sydney signs, Los Angeles spent $9.5 million putting up 558,000 temporary parking restriction signs in a single year, ‘a strain on staff and resources that can be reduced by implementing permanent e-paper signs with content easily customizable via cellular networks.’
The signs are not being used everywhere yet; the company told The Register that “the technology came about through staff who saw the potential of e-reader technology to display real time information about clearways to manage traffic flows during special events.” It’s still too expensive to use for every parking sign, which is a shame; they could do so much more.
I’m reminded of Steve Martin’s wonderful movie, ‘L.A. Story,’ where the road signs offer all kinds of useful advice. This could be a start of a whole wonderful new world of urban interaction and communication.”
— Lloyd Alter, MMN