Church denied sign appeal, but ordinance may be re-examined |

Church denied sign appeal, but ordinance may be re-examined

Grass Valley City Council members denied the First Baptist Church’s appeal for an electronic message sign Tuesday, but opened the part of the sign ordinance up for review, which could give the church another chance.

“One door closes, but there is potential for another door opening,” said Mayor Lisa Swarthout.

The church, located at 1866 Ridge Road, already has the electric sign in place, but is only permitted to show date and time.

Pastor Mark Rindels advocated for the sign, which he said could serve the community in disseminating information, particularly in emergencies, when the church serves as a gathering point.

“We’re asking for the exemption because we’re not in a historic district and there is already a sign across the street,” he said.

Nevada Union High School has a changeable message board currently, but is in the county, not inside city limits.

The church would also work in good faith with the city on brightness and appearance issues, Rindels added.

City Hall was filled with members of the church and other residents, and all who spoke supported the sign, but Council Members Yolanda Cookson, Chauncey Poston and Vice Mayor Jan Arbuckle had reservations about setting precedent and making the decision piece-meal, rather than across the board.

“We spent a lot of time on the sign ordinance and it’s what we felt was best for the city,” Poston said. “Once we have lighting like this everybody tries to outdo the next guy.”

Council member Dan Miller and Swarthout supported the exception, but were voted down.

“I wouldn’t have allowed the internally illuminated sign in the first place, but now that it’s there it doesn’t matter to me what’s up there,” Swarthout said.

The council members asked staff to bring that part of the sign ordinance back, working with an ad hoc committee including Cookson and Swarthout to address changeable electronic signs specifically.

To contact Staff Writer Greyson Howard, e-mail or call (530) 477-4237.

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