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McHenry to consider more changes to sign rules

Published: Wednesday, July 16, 2014 11:45 a.m. CDT • Updated: Wednesday, July 16, 2014 11:55 p.m. CDT

McHENRY – Big red letters mark the long retail space in a North Richmond Road shopping center as a Target.

The sign is allowed under city ordinance, but the smaller sign noting the store's pharmacy required the business to get permission from the McHenry City Council.

This type of variance request is fairly common, Deputy City Administrator Doug Martin said, and so the McHenry Community Development Committee recommended changing the city ordinance to change how the number of signs allowed is calculated.

The proposed ordinance, which still needs City Council approval, doesn't change the size restrictions for signs, but it makes the number of signs allowed on a business's storefront based on the length of that storefront for businesses that are located in shopping centers but not in multiuser outbuildings.

That means businesses in longer buildings – like Aldi, Target, Hobby Lobby, Meijer and Jewel, which have already received variances – would no longer need to go to the City Council for that extra sign.

The proposed formula would allow one sign for every 20 feet of business with a minimum of one sign allowed for smaller buildings.

The Community Development Committee looks at the sign ordinance and the city's other ordinances on a regular basis, in particular analyzing whether issues that come up frequently as variance requests should be codified, Martin said.

Earlier in the year, the committee recommended allowing signs using LED technology and additional signs for grand openings. The McHenry City Council subsequently approved the changes.

The committee also decided against licensing contractors, which is something some other communities do, Martin said. It plans on revisiting the issue in a few years.

Information on consumer rights and potential fraud also is made available to residents when they apply for building permits, he said.

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