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City amends sign code

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The Hudson City Council on May 1 amended the Municipal Code to allow developers to restrict the number of tall free-standing signs in general business districts and on adjoining commercial lots.

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The new Section 202-5 of the Municipal Code will allow developers to draft master sign plans for commercial districts that permit not more than two freestanding signs 35 feet or less in height. The sign face is limited to 135 square feet in area.

Businesses located in commercial developments that have a master sign plan will share space on the tall freestanding signs.

"The intent is to reduce the number of large freestanding signs in a commercial development with multiple lots and/or buildings," Community Development Director Dennis Darnold wrote about the amendment in a memo to council members.

Businesses not identified on the freestanding, off-premise signs will be allowed to erect one sign six feet in height and 40 square feet in area near the primary entrance to their lots.

Wall signs not exceeding 10 percent of the wall area also will be allowed.

The idea of having a master sign plan for commercial developments was prompted by development of the new Ban Tara business subdivision on the east side of Carmichael Road south of Interstate 94.

The council also considered approval of a master sign plan for the Ban Tara development, but wasn't able to act on it when Alderman Paul Radermacher abstained from voting. He owns a sign company.

When Radermacher abstained, the council didn't have a quorum to conduct business because Alderpersons Dennis O'Connell and Carah Koch were absent.

The proposed Ban Tara master plan is for seven of the 10 lots in the development because three of the lots were sold to businesses before the plan was drafted.

The plan would allow two signs 45 feet high along Carmichael Road. The area of the sign faces is limited to 135 square feet.

Darnold said the plan would reduce the number of potential 45-foot freestanding signs in the development from 10 to three.

In other action May 1, the council:

  • Adopted a resolution declaring the city's intent to vacate its ownership of an undeveloped alley right of way between 11th and 12th streets south of Fillmore Street. A public hearing on vacating the alleyway was set for 6:55 p.m. June 5.
  • Accepted a low bid of $10,875 from Swanson & Youngdale on painting concrete tanks at the wastewater treatment plant. The next lowest of three other bids was $1,555 higher.
  • Approved a revised employee handbook for city employees.
  • Granted the Hudson Area Chamber of Commerce and Tourism Bureau a permit to hold the 13th annual St. Croix Music & Art Festival July 14-16.

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    Randy Hanson
    Randy Hanson has reported for the Star-Observer since 1997. He came to Hudson after 11 years with the Inter-County Leader at Frederic, and eight years of teaching social studies. He’s a graduate of UW-Eau Claire.
    (715) 426-1066
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