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Downers Grove sign regulations kick in Monday

Published: Thursday, May 1, 2014 12:49 p.m. CDT • Updated: Friday, July 25, 2014 4:37 a.m. CDT

DOWNERS GROVE – Owners of properties violating the village's new sign ordinance must meet compliance by Monday, or see possible fines.

The mandatory compliance follows a nine-year grace period given to property owners following the ordinance's passage in 2005.

As of February, 88 percent of properties conformed to the ordinance, according to village staff, but 345 non-complying signs still laid across 270 properties.

The rules require smaller, lower signs further from the curb, among other requirements.

The grace period was originally set at seven years, before a two-year-extension, because the average sign is typically replaced after seven years in the normal course of business.

The ordinance began as a look at large, decrepit signs on Ogden Avenue in the early 2000s. The conversation eventually grew into committees and public hearings and the village-wide ordinance now in place.

School District 99 is currently planning replacements for signs at both high schools are not in compliance with the ordinance.

The Main Street sign at North High School and two signs at South High School are all too big, too tall and too close to the curb. Though, to bring the Main Street sign into compliance with the setback requirement would place it inside the school. The district will likely request a zoning variance to place the sign closer to the property line.

District 99 has planned to spend about $54,000 to replace the sign at North High School, and $70,000 to knock down the two signs at South and replace it with one new sign.

The district has also shown interest in adding digital displays to the new signs, similar to several neighboring high schools, to promote school activities and other announcements.

The village's sign ordinance bars those types of signs.

The district is still in talks with the village regarding its various options. A simple zoning variances would not allow the school district to erect a digital sign and that the ordinance itself would need to be amended, Tully said earlier this year.

Fines for non-complying signs can range from $75 to $750, the standard code violation penalties in the village.

The village has a $27,360 contract with SAFEBuilt, Inc. to assist in enforcing the ordinance.

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