Etna Township is expected to approve a resolution Sept. 4 to amend the township sign code and include electronic billboards in an update.

Etna Township is expected to approve a resolution Sept. 4 to amend the township sign code and include electronic billboards in an update.

Township Zoning Administrator Chris Harkness said trustees had hoped to prevent the use of electronic billboards in the township, but a decision from the Licking County Prosecutor's Office said the township cannot prevent the billboards in certain zoning districts. According to Ohio Revised Code section 519.20, "outdoor advertising shall be classified as a business use and be permitted in all districts zoned for industry, business, or trade or lands used for agricultural purposes."

Harkness said the prosecutor's office said the signs could be prohibited only if they are shown to be a safety hazard.

After researching existing billboards, the township could not find conclusive evidence that electronic billboards are a safety hazard. The trustees asked the township zoning commission to recommend regulations for the electronic billboards.

The proposed sign code amendment includes regulations on illumination and size of electronic billboards.

The zoning commission met with trustees Aug. 29 to explain the recommendations. The resolution prohibits the use of audio or music used with a sign and requires temporary electronic signs to display only one message that cannot be changed.

Lighting also is restricted. "No sign shall exceed a brightness level of 0.3 footcandles above ambient light," according to the amendment. A footcandle is a measure of light intensity.

Permanent signs in commercial districts must display static images only and transitions from one image to the next must be instantaneous "without flashing, blinking or movement of any kind," according to the code.