There was reason for celebration among Naperville city council members this week, when they found something else they can regulate. This time is was signage, both residential and business/commercial.
The Naperville city council meeting this Tuesday December 20 lasted for for 113 minutes, with 53 minutes devoted to discussing an ordinance to regulate signage; that’s 47% of the meeting. It must be very important, because I can’t remember a city council meeting discussing heroin usage for more than five minutes. Councilwoman Judy Brodhead recently said during a council meeting that the council talks about it all the time. It must be during closed session, because they don’t acknowledge the topic in any depth during open council meetings.
The City of Naperville conducted a survey on how large temporary signs should be. Naperville’s population is over 140,000 residents and less than 400 responses were received. With less than 0.3% of the population showing interest in the survey, the council used the results to determine residential temporary signs should be 2 X 2 (4 square feet), and business temporary signs should be 3 X 4 (12 square feet). There was no discussion about whether or not the Russians hacked into survey swaying the results.
The size of the signs wasn’t enough for the city council, they also want to regulate the light being emitted from changing (electronic) graphic signs. Watch and listen to the exchange between Naperville councilman Paul Hinterlong and Tim Felstrup from the Development Review Team as they discuss lumens and code enforcement with light meters:
So when the ordinance is passed the City of Naperville will have code enforcement officers running around with light meters measuring lumens. The Naperville city council will be regulating ‘lumens’ with undoubtedly not one of the nine being able to define what a lumen is. Much like when the city council was discussing regulating bee hives, but not one of the nine could correctly answer the question ‘What color is a honey bee?’
John Doyle from Chicago Sign and Light Company addressed the council regarding electronic boards (changing graphic signs) and questioned if the City had received any complaints about the signs emitting too much light. Crickets, apparently not. Watch and listen as he mentions ‘Dillon’s Rule’.
John Forrest Dillon was a Federal judge in Iowa in 1868 and regarding local municipalities he basically said they should only make ordinances or changes to ordinances if they are:
- Empowered to do it.
- If there is an overwhelming need to change something
- If there is no other way to solve the problem
Looks like the City didn’t give much thought, consideration, or importance to #2. What is the overwhelming problem? Looks like another solution in search of a problem. The Naperville city council specializes in that category.
Naperville residents and businesses need a ‘champion’ or better yet, five champions on the city council who deregulate rather than regulate. Champions who consider the above three factors regarding ordinances. If there is no other way to solve a problem other than an ordinance, then take two ordinances off the books. In time the book should be manageable.