Sign ordinance amendments Longview leaders say would limit digital billboards but not limit development are being reviewed by city attorneys.

The Planning and Zoning Commission was scheduled to look at the proposal Tuesday and expected to recommend it to the City Council for final approval. Instead, the commission will schedule a special-called meeting next week — likely Sept. 26 — to consider the amendments, Development Services Director Michael Shirley said.

The amendments were proffered by Mayor Andy Mack last week after his discussions with developers and business representatives who want to redevelop a vacant restaurant at the highly trafficked Marshall Avenue/Spur 63 crossing.

The next council meeting is scheduled for Oct. 10.

Under amendments the Planning and Zoning Commission will consider, additional digital facings could be erected on a ratio in which one sign could be retrofitted to digital for every three facings that are removed.

A facing is defined as one sign advertisement facing in a single direction.

Faces that are removed must add up to at least 1,600 square feet, and digital facings can’t be larger than 400 square feet.

“It will allow us to see a reduction in overall signs,” Shirley said.

Digital facings would be limited to being retrofitted on the corridors of U.S. 80 and Loop 281.

The amendments surfaced from recent conversations between Mack and other city leaders with representatives from Lamar Advertising — the owner of the signs in question — and consultants and developers who have tried since February 2018 to broker a deal that would attract Starbucks to build a store on the former Waffle Shoppe site. A real estate committee for the potential tenant has rejected using the site with the three-sided sign above the building as it stands.

If the amendments are OK’d, Lamar will be allowed to retrofit one of its existing static signs into a digital facing if it brings down the three-sided sign, because it would equal four signs being removed for the digital sign facing that would be added, Shirley said.

Jimmy Daniell Isaac covers the city of Longview and Gregg County. Follow him on Twitter: @jimmyisaaclives.  

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