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March 26, 2019 12:21 am

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Douglas Officials Looking To Update Sign Ordinance For The City To Reduce "Visual Clutter"

        As a way to get more uniformity and less “visual clutter”, but continue to encourage business advertisement, the City of Douglas is preparing to institutionalize a general update to its signage ordinance covering all zoning districts, including downtown and the Blue Star Highway corridor.
        The Douglas Planning Commission, Downtown Development Authority and the city council met at a special meeting last week where Douglas City Planner Lynn Wells provided an outline of different signs and took questions from the various boards’ members about the process.
        The main focus of the updates centered on the corridor. The city faces a situation where there are a lot of signs and a lot of different type  of signs.
        When it comes to the signs, there is no regulation at all or definitions fall short of what the city deems proper and current, Douglas City Manager Bill LeFevere told The Local Observer Friday.
        “Obviously we want businesses to advertise, but want to balance that with aesthetics. In some cases, we have reached a point we call ‘visual clutter,’ there is no clarity,” said LeFevere.
        Years back, officials addressed some aspects of downtown sandwich signs, but, as LeFevere explained,  “that was just a patchwork without official change to the ordinance  language.”‘
        In other city business, Allegan County recently provided the City of Douglas – as well as other municipalities in the county – with some data showing its current assessment of county-wide broadband Internet service.
        There are a large number of pockets in the county where broadband Internet service is not available or the Internet is too slow, county officials have reported.
        In its efforts to expand and improve service, the county has been conducting surveys and taking comments from its residents as well as producing maps for each municipality showing different factors: subscribers by technology-type, areas where Internet is slow or expensive, primary use of the Internet, etc.
        Seventeen percent of responders say “broadband service is not available” and 98 percent of those say “they would subscribe if service was available,” a current assessment shows.
        This, while 24 percent of responders do not currently subscribe to broadband.
        The data comes from 742 responses through the county’s online system as well as hard-copy surveys from Gun Plain Township and Lee Township and the Allegan library.

Douglas Officials Looking To Update Sign Ordinance For The City To Reduce “Visual Clutter”

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