The February 8th Rochester City Council Committee of the Whole meeting was a successful night for Rochester businesses. For several years, the Rochester/Olmsted County Planning Department has been advocating for a stricter zoning ordinance for electronic business signs. Since this was first brought forward, the Chamber has been working diligently against this through a task force of businesses who have a vested interest in fighting the stricter ordinance.
Many businesses have invested thousands of dollars in these electronic message centers which market their products and services to the public. These signs are frequently used to promote non-profit and community events. Two of the main proposed ordinance changes would have limited sign locations and how often the sign message could change.
If the proposed ordinance would have been enacted, it would of made many of these signs essentially static.
By filling the room with local businesses, the Chamber, along with the business community, was able to get the issue tabled until a federal study on electronic messaging is complete. It is unknown when the study will be finished or if the study will even review electronic message centers.
"This was a long process and in the end it was good to have the council see that at this time there was no real issue with the electronic signs," says Mike Thom, manager at Home Improvement Professionals. "We business owners thank the council for their patience, understanding and support throughout this process."
The Chamber thanks the city council and staff for supporting our task force efforts. They agreed that there was not a public outcry to enforce a stricter ordinance. There was not a problem to fix. You can be confident that if this issue pops up again in the future, the task force will be re-mobilized to fight against this unnecessary zoning ordinance amendment.
Your Chamber is a conduit between the business community and local, state and federal government officials. We take this role very seriously in advocating for our members. Contact John Eckerman at 507-424-5687 for any questions or concerns regarding this valuable service.