Illuminated Sign Policy Adopted by Willo Neighborhood Association

Published on 05/07/2018 • Posted in

April 29, 2018

Alan Stephenson
Planning & Development Director
City of Phoenix
200 W. Washington, 3rd Floor
Phoenix, AZ 85003

Re: Illuminated Sign Policy Adopted by Willo Neighborhood Association

Dear Alan:

I am writing to let you know the Willo Neighborhood Association Board unanimously passed the following motion at our April 12, 2018 meeting with regard to brightly lit LED signage in our area (between Central and 7th Avenues from McDowell to Thomas Roads):

“Move to adopt a policy regarding illuminated signage on Central Ave. from McDowell to Thomas Rds., Thomas Rd. from Central Ave. to 7th Ave., and McDowell Rd. from Central Ave. to 7th Ave. as follows: The Willo Neighborhood Association supports and will seek enforcement of the current City of Phoenix Sign Regulations set forth in the Phoenix City Code and Zoning Ordinances, and related Arizona Statutes. We may support a variance in limited situations for an increase in sign height of up to 100%  (e.g., from 12 inches to a maximum of 24 inches, such as for a logo or the first letter on a sign) if circumstances warrant.  We oppose brightly lit, visible neon, LED, fiber optic, etc. signs that increase glare above ambient levels, specifically with regard to LED lights that exceed 3000K correlated color temperature (CCT) and any signs where the sign brightness creates conditions that adversely impact people or property values.”

The above motion is in response to the hardship imposed on some of our residents from the large, 5000K BMO Tower sign. We will continue to seek enforcement of the current sign regulations, including Sections 662.K. (Sign Regulations – TOD-1) and 705 (Signs) of the City of Phoenix Zoning Ordinance. Most importantly, we want to see the sign ordinances strengthened by setting brightness and glare standards for LED signs.

Immediate concerns about sign applications in our area include the April 5, 2018 decision on ZA-98-18-4, in which the Zoning Adjustment Hearing Officer granted a use permit for a 7100K sign at 2828 N. Central Ave. (Our Board has now appealed this decision to the Board of Adjustment). Switch Restaurant at 2603 N. Central Ave. has filed ZA-38-18, seeking approval of signage approximately 350% of the allowable area, and 6500K CCT. This case was taken under advisement on Thursday, April 26th, by Hearing Officer Michael Widener. The outcome of the Switch sign application is likely to influence the type of signage that will be requested by the owners of the new Rubicon Deli under construction on the southeast corner of Central and Virginia, as well as the Lenny’s going in across the street.

It is becoming increasingly burdensome for Willo and nearby neighborhoods to address the brightness and glare of LED signs on a case-by-case basis while waiting for the City of Phoenix to formulate a policy. I understand that you’ve recently met with sign industry and neighborhood stakeholders, and I thank you for inviting Opal Wagner, Willo’s Zoning Committee Chairperson. While I applaud this as a good first step, we have been waiting for the City to come up with a policy on bright LED signs since the BMO Tower signs went up more than a year and a half ago. I hope to hear back from you soon regarding what next steps the Planning & Development Department will be taking to address this important issue. Please let me know what I can do to help.


Dr. Robert Cannon, President

Willo Neighborhood Association

cc       Mayor Greg Stanton
Councilwoman Laura Pastor
David Longoria
Joshua Bednarek, Deputy Planning Director
Craig Mavis, Planner