The recent emergence of decorative lights illuminating several businesses in Conyers has led the City Council to place a moratorium on electric, neon and LED lighting until regulations are added to the zoning ordinance.
Strands of neon-like lights have been appearing along the rooflines and in the windows of local businesses lately, a design element never before addressed in the City’s zoning guidelines. While the existing lights will be allowed to remain, the City will not permit any new lights to be placed at least until May 16 in order to give planning and zoning officials time to write an ordinance governing such lighting.
Councilmember John Fountain said the effect LED lighting has on surrounding property is the primary concern of city officials.
“It something that you don’t notice unless you look for it particularly, but if you look around there has been a proliferation of the LED-type rope lighting and some of it attractive and makes a building more attractive,” Fountain said during the Council’s meeting this week. “And then you will see a place, and you can determine which ones I might be talking about if you ride around town at night, where it is used and it produces this fairly garish, ghastly appearance to the building, and instead of making it look like a place where I would like to do business, it looks like a place where you are waiting for a crime to be committed or something like that.”
“With a lot of that lighting you really don’t want to be their next door neighbor because no one would want your property for any purposes. So we need to have some guidelines in place and the guidelines have to be written so that we don’t run the risk of keeping anyone from setting up holiday lighting for a short period of time and so that we don’t prevent anyone’s business from having visibility. But at the same time, we don’t need someone’s light show to adversely affect the value of the property surrounding that business. I think that is the underlying tone of it.”
City Council also adopted an ordinance providing new standards for check cashing services and pawn shops, including title lending and title pawn services. New regulations require those businesses to be located only on arterial streets, such as West Avenue, and collector streets, such as Green Street. The businesses must also be at least 1,500 feet from one another and 1,500 feet from any residential structure.
IN BRIEF: Zoning issues were the focus of a brief Conyers City Council meeting Wednesday night, the most visible of which was the regulation of LED lights in the City's business district.
The City's current zoning ordinance does not address LED, or neon, lighting that has recently appeared outlining windows or rooflines of businesses inside the City limits. While the existing decor will remain unaffected until the ordinance is updated, placement of similar lighting will not be permitted within the City's business district during the moratorium's current deadline of May 16.
"Several building have LED lighting that is highlighting widows and different features of the building," City of Conyers Planning and Zoning Director Marvin Flanigan told the Council Wednesday. "We feel that we need to provide some regulations as it relates to LED lighting."
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