Mount Prospect puts limits on electronic signs in neighborhoods

In response to resident complaints, Mount Prospect officials are tightening regulations on electronic signs that display messages in neighborhoods of single-family homes.

The change was part of a series of text amendments to the village’s zoning and sign codes passed at Tuesday’s meeting.

The new rules — which also cover conservation recreation areas such as parks, golf courses, swimming pools and community facilities — require that signs be turned off a half-hour after sunset or 7 p.m., whichever comes first. The signs then must remain off until 7 a.m.

Under the previous rules, the signs could stay on until 11 p.m.

The changes also restrict the brightness of the signs. Signs along arterial roadways, including churches on Golf Road, would be exempted, Community Development Director Bill Cooney said.

Resident Monica Schwarz told trustees Tuesday that the sign outside Fairview Elementary School near her home has been intrusive and interferes with the enjoyment of her residence.

“(It is) literally changing colors in my bedroom and in my living room every 10 seconds,” she said.

“Last week, they updated the sign and now there’s this bright orange background color that is shining through on my walls in addition to the blue, green and other colors,” Schwarz added.

Trustees John Matuszak and Terri Gens suggested eliminating the school’s sign, which was permitted six months ago.

But Mayor Paul Hoefert and Trustee William Grossi warned that doing that could land the village in court with Mount Prospect Elementary School District 57.

“(The new rules are) a first step,” Grossi said. “Then review it in the future to see how it works.”

After the village board unanimously passed the new rules, Schwarz called it a “good starting point” that should provide some relief to her and her neighbors.

District 57 spokeswoman Heather Salerno said the sign will be used in accordance with the new regulations.

“The sign has, unfortunately, caused stress to several of our Mount Prospect neighbors,” she said. “This was never the district’s intention, and we have made modifications to the sign’s brightness and hours of operation in response to these concerns.”

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