Changes to sign ordinance approved

Patrick Fisher, Staff Writer

It took a few months, but the New Prague Planning and Zoning Commission unanimously recommended approval of a proposed amendment concerning signs.

The commission's decision at its Wednesday, Feb. 27, meeting ended discussion and research on the subject that began in August 2007. The amendment deals with commercial signs for the east side of town. It pertains to the size of the signs and the space between them.

The amendment grew out of working with a large development. The city currently limits freestanding or monument signs to 100-square-feet, which they found don't work well with larger developments like New Prague Commons, which includes a grocery store, a retail center and has four outlots for future businesses.

New Prague city planner Ken Ondich explained that the proposed change is one where the combined floor area of all buildings on a lot or site will determine the size of the signage. The proposal covers three development sizes. A site with buildings totaling 100,000-square-foot gross floor area will be allowed 250-square-feet per street frontage for a sign. Next, a site with 50,000 to 100,000-square-foot gross floor area will have 200-square-feet per street frontage, and a site with 50,000-square-foot gross floor area or less can have 100-square-feet per street frontage for a sign.

No matter the size of the lot, the sign total can be divided, allowing more than one sign on the lot, as long as the signs are 250 feet apart.

During the public hearing on the amendment, Bill Abel, representing New Prague Commons, was concerned without monument signs, a store may get lost.

Commission chair Grant Gengel explained that during a workshop on the ordinance the members saw several examples where the name of the store was on the side of the building to advertise its presence. Among the examples were pictures from Chaska and Shakopee where they didn't have monument signs.

Aesthetics played a great deal in our decision

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