Pasco commissioners are again in danger of being distracted by roadside clutter. After correctly rejecting a time-consuming request from the outdoor advertising industry to rethink county rules banning digital billboards, commissioners now are poised to deliberate changes to a sign ordinance prohibiting most LED signs.
Commissioner Jack Mariano wants the LED signs, saying they are energy efficient and the county would signal a business-friendly environment by acquiescing to commercial requests for bright, flashing signs. Commissioner Pat Mulieri, who opposed such a change in the past, said she would be willing to listen. She shouldn't retreat from her position championing better aesthetic.
The county's ordinance requires new commercial signs to be low-to-the-ground monument-type signs that, under most circumstances, are absent an electronic message board. LED signs are allowable if the message does not change or flash.
Think of the gasoline price signs at newer convenience stories as a permissible use.
But brightly lit boards that rotate messages are prohibited unless used by a government agency for a public purpose. Think of the Las Vegas strip or a U.S. 19 flea market sign — that predates the county ordinance — as an example of what is not allowed now.
There is no public purpose served by more visual blight. The commission correctly discarded the idea of granting waivers for LED signs to community development districts and homeowner associations four years ago. It shouldn't entertain new, even broader requests now.