The Sacramento City Council voted Thursday night to loosen city rules about signs to make way for a potential 3,206 square feet of outdoor displays at the Golden 1 Center and other large entertainment venues.
The council unanimously passed an ordinance that allows large digital signs, static signs and one aerial-view sign for large entertainment venues based on how many permanent fixed seats they have. A venue such as the Golden 1 Center, with seating for 17,500, can have two digital signs of 700 square feet each, pending approval from a design or preservation director.
Before the vote, zoning regulations would have allowed only one 45-square-foot static sign at the arena, according to Desmond Parrington, the city’s project manager for the arena project. The ordinance carries out changes the city agreed to in its 2014 deal with the Sacramento Kings, he said.
“The signage that is proposed on the arena is not allowed under our current sign code,” Parrington told council members. “Our sign code is much more restrictive and doesn’t allow for the types of exciting, innovative signage that you see at most entertainment and sporting facilities.”
Under the ordinance, digital displays may be animated and use flashing or blinking lights, but the amount of light they emit is limited. They are required to be shut off between midnight and dawn during the week and between 2 a.m. and dawn on Saturdays and Sundays. Aerial displays are limited to 30 percent of the roof surface. While they’re not allowed to be digital, they can be lit and change color.
The Community Center Theater, Memorial Auditorium and a possible MLS soccer stadium in the railyard also can make use of the new rules.
Local developer Jon Bagatelos, representing five building owners near the arena, told the council he and the business owners approved of the ordinance, but wanted to share in the sign allowances made for the Kings.
City staff members said there is a separate ordinance coming that will create a special sign district for the eight-block area around the arena labeled as “Downtown Commons.” Marketers, sign companies and property owners last year began discussing the possibility of adding bright LED displays and billboards, as well as ads projected on walls, all aimed at marketing toward pedestrians congregating downtown for arena events.