ST. CLOUD - Electronic signs have become more affordable and have started to pop up around town. Because of that, St. Cloud officials want to take a look at amending the city's ordinance that regulates signs. Specifically, they are looking at electronic signs by churches and schools and other institutions in residential neighborhoods.

Community Development Director Matt Glaesman says they're considering amending the current ordinance to allow for a larger electronic sign, going from 30 square feet to up to 32 square feet or 50 square feet.

We're increasing the size for those electronic signs, but at the same time adopting standards for making sure that whether it's the glare, the flashing, that those are appropriate for the site.  There are standards for turning the brightness down at night, and the flashing, on the board.

The ordinance would also prohibit the electronic signs from being used for advertising anything off-site. Audio, or speakers, on the sign, is also not allowed.

St. Cloud's Zoning Board of Appeals has ruled on six variances to electronic signs since 2012. They approved four of them: Westwood Community Church, St. Michael's Church, the St. Cloud Community Aquatic and YMCA, and the Love of Christ Lutheran Church. The two they denied were at the Kingdom Hall and the Roosevelt Education Center.

St. Cloud officials are also considering relaxing the rules on the use of those black portable signs. Glaesman says right now if there is a number of businesses in one building the whole property is only allowed to put a mobile sign once per year.

The Midtown Mall is a good example, where everything from the corner through the mall property itself is a number of out lots.  Each of those are now limited to one sign for the year.  This amendment would open that up so each of the parcels could act independently.

In other words, Glaesman says each business in the mall would be allowed to use a mobile sign once each year. He says one reason for the proposed amendment is because it has been difficult for the city to manage the sign sharing provision.

The St. Cloud Planning Commission will hold a public hearing on both issues during their meeting tomorrow (Tuesday) night at 6:00 p.m.