Westwood sign code prohibits electronic signs; church request is turned down

Olivet Baptist Church asked for a variance to upgrade this sign on Mission Road.
Olivet Baptist Church asked for a variance to upgrade this sign on Mission Road.

Westwood does not allow any electronic signs in the city.

That prohibition was what stopped Olivet Baptist Church at 4901 Mission Road from getting a new sign. Olivet had asked for a variance to put up an electric monument sign that would be internally lighted on the top and have an LED board with changeable text and graphics on the bottom.

The city’s board of zoning apples, which has the same membership as the planning commission, late last month denied the request unanimously, citing the city’s restrictions. Not permitted in Westwood are animated signs; billboards; electrically lighted signs that create a nuisance to neighboring property or general public; electronic signs; flashing or blinking signs; off-site signs; pole signs; portable signs; roof signs or illuminated awnings.

The staff report on the request suggested the planning commission, rather than BZA, could consider changes to the sign code to allow more modern signage in the city. Some of the BZA members indicated they were sympathetic to the request for the new sign, but said a variance for the specific property was not a solution because it did not meet the variance criteria.

Representatives from the church played a video showing how long it takes to change the message on the manual sign. Olivet has been in Westwood for several decades.

Other nearby cities have been reviewing their sign ordinances and enforcement in recent months.