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Enid Approves Ban on New Billboards

Council also outlaws inflatables, protruding vehicle signs

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Enid, OK’s city commission voted unanimously on January 19 to approve an ordinance that bans new billboards. After several public hearings, the Enid City Commission approved the ordinance, which also bans temporary signage, except those approved for designated special events, and a few other sign types.

Whitney Box, an assistant planner for the city, said the ordinance represents the first significant changes to the sign-related regulations in approximately 20 years: “Our city’s appearance was the primary reason for the changes. We’ve had various consultants and local professional comment on local sign clutter.”

To the city’s credit, the Commission conducted three rounds of public hearings, rather than the legally required one. She said, “Because of the ordinance’s impact, we wanted plenty of public comment.”

The primary focus of the ordinance is new-billboard construction. Box said the Enid is currently under a six-month moratorium on new billboards, which expires in March. She noted that, among the 68 billboards in the city, 11 are completely or partially without ads. The city will also outlaw any vehicle signs that protrude from or are situated within a vehicle (painted graphics or applied-vinyl wraps will still be permitted), inflatable “balloon” signs, and temporary graphics except for those approved for such designated special events as grand openings, going-out-of-business liquidations and short-term sales.

The ordinance also mandates that contractors installing or repairing signage within the city limits must maintain $500,000 of insurance, which will better protect all parties in the event of a mishap.

The ordinance will also amend Enid’s sign-permit fee structure. The proposal specifies a $35 fee for signs up to 100 sq. ft.; $50 for signs from 100 to 200 sq. ft.; and $65 for those over 201 sq. ft. The city will also enact a $25 inspection fee. Previously, the city charged $.05 per sq. ft. and a $15 inspection fee. Box said the inspection hadn’t previously been enforced. She said the new fees will simply cover the cost of inspections.

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“The current square-foot limit for signs is 1 sq. ft. per 1 lineal ft. of street frontage, and 1 sq. ft. per 2 lineal ft. for freestanding signs only,” she said.

In Enid’s downtown district, the requirements are even stricter. For example, projecting signs are limited to 0.5 sq. ft. per lineal ft., and may not extend more than 4 ft. from the building, or 1 ft. per 12.5 ft if the façade measures less than 50 ft. wide. Wall signs may encompass no more than 30% of the size of the façade to which it’s attached.

Box said that Joe Bill Klein, proprietor of Enid’s Kline Signs, after discussing the ordinance with Commission members and addressing the issue at public hearings, offered his support to the measure.

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