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City Close to Revising Signage Rules for Businesses

Council weighs requests for electronic billboard and changes to casino signs near highways.

Motorists’ view of Des Plaines from Interstates 294 and 90 will likely change in upcoming months, as came one step closer to approving an electronic billboard near Touhy Avenue and I-90.

Aldermen will also likely approve changes to the casino signage planned for River Road and will be visible from I-294.

Patrick Devereaux, senior vice president of Siete 7 LLC and recent appointee to the city's Economic Development Commission, has been working with the City Council since 2009 on a proposal that would allow the construction of an electronic sign near his company’s office park in the 900 block of Touhy Avenue.

While it seems approval is likely for , which would require amendments to a 1998 zoning ordinance, council members seemed concerned about what exactly would be advertised on the sign and if outside businesses could pay for ads.

“A sign on the tollway is a very valuable commodity,” said Alderman Dan Wilson (7th Ward).

The proposed ordinance guarantees that information from the city will be displayed no less than 3.5 percent of the time and that only tenants of the office building will be allowed to advertise on the billboard. Tenants would be defined as people or entities that actually occupy the building, have signed a lease with the company lasting at least three years and have an office space of at least 500 square feet.

Devereaux said he thinks the sign will be a boon to Des Plaines and help attract business tenants to the office park. “I am a fan of Des Plaines and want businesses here to be successful,” he said.

If approved, the proposal would permit electronic signs of less than 500 square feet on either side--smaller than a typical billboard but much larger than what was previously allowed. The ordinance would also allow similar signs in three other commercial areas in Des Plaines, although no others have been proposed.

With the recent naming of Rivers Casino, Midwest Gaming officials want to reconfigure some of the signage at the casino to maximize space and display the name. Under the revised plan, the overall square footage of a casino sign would decrease, but two newly proposed signs would be permitted on the parking garage's roof.

City Attorney David Wiltse suggested expediting the process, given the upcoming deadlines for the casino and the fact that there were many hearings about the original signage plans.

The casino is scheduled to open July 19.

City officials also formally unveiled the City Action Request system, which launched in January. Residents have submitted more than 500 requests since its inception, said Michael Duebner, director of information technology.

Requests made on the city's website are sent directly to the appropriate department. Citizens can then track the progress online.

Requests can be made anonymously, and pictures can be uploaded along with a description. 

Duebner notes that this has helped the city manage questions and requests more effectively and efficiently.

Requests to the website have included questions about garbage pickup, snow removal and parking stickers. The biggest surprise for officials has been the number of requests received during off-hours, Duebner said.

“Monday mornings have become very busy,” he said.

To make a request, go to www.desplaines.org and click on the City Action Request icon in the upper right-hand corner.

Gus April 19, 2011 at 11:53 AM
The electronic signs stink. They're an eyesore. Don't need these giant TV sets screaming at me every time I apss by. Just look at the Culvers sign on Mannheim. Keep's ME from going in there! No more of these please.

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