Sarnoff clarified: “Not that I’m a moralist. I just don’t think people want to see that in the public right of way.”
In a blog post later, activist Barbara Bisno likened the commissioners’ vote to “Absurdist Theater.”
“They voted for it, even though there were no written changes on the record,” Bisno wrote, noting that Noriega never submitted the revised bill to the city clerk.
Bisno and other activists have vowed to fight the measure, but it is uncertain how they will fare. Commission Vice Chairman Willy Gort and Commissioner Michelle-Spence Jones have already approved the idea once. Commissioner Frank Carollo has said he opposes it, and Sarnoff indicated that he might not support it when it returns for a final vote.
Commissioner Francis Suarez, who was off the dais at the time of the vote, said he would have to read a final draft of the bill before forming an opinion on it.
Complicating matters, the activists now have a second proposal to fight.
On Monday, the city planning and zoning appeals board will consider a substantial rewrite of the sign code that would, among other changes, allow businesses to display electronic message signs as large as 24 square feet. The signs are currently prohibited, though some already exist, City Planning Director Francisco Garcia said.
Opponents liken the brightly lit signs to mini-LED billboards.
“The new legislation will allow LED billboards on every business in Miami with no distance requirements and no time limits,” Ehrlich said. “Imagine 10 to 20 LED billboards on every block.”
Garcia said the city is proposing strict controls over the electronic signs. They would have to be monochromatic and could not flash, and the message could not be changed more than once every six hours.
“We ourselves have reservations and are somewhat ambivalent about the sign type itself,” Garcia said. “We think that there is value in’’ allowing electronic message signs. “But if they are mismanaged, they could create the kind of visual nuisance people are concerned about.”
Garcia said the point of the rewrite is not to allow for the proliferation of signs, but to modernize the 20-year-old ordinance and make it more “user friendly.” He also noted that the new sign code would give businesses a shorter window of time to make their noncompliant ads conform to city standards.