A procession arrives at St. Mary's R.C. Church
With 12 Masses a weekend and 5,000 parishioners, Father Manoel Oliveira of St. Mary's Roman Catholic Church needs a quick way to communicate when changes take place.
To that end, he and engineer Raj Sookhu met with the Historic Preservation Commission Tuesday to discuss what he had in mind - an LED signboard that could be updated in seconds, say, when a Mass was unexpectedly relocated from the church to a chapel. Sookhu said the sign might only change once an hour if needed and would not have moving letters. It would be used "just for something we didn't plan for," he said
The church is on the National Register of Historic Places, so at some point the pastor would have to get a Certificate of Appropriateness from the HPC if its sign was modified to add an LED board. But that point right now is somewhat distant. A 2010 sign ordinance currently prohibits LED lights, though a draft ordinance permitting them is under discussion.
Meanwhile, the city recently erected a signboard outside Municipal Court that shows the date, time temperature and displays messages about events.
A commissioner asked whether church officials had considered use of plastic letters placed by hand on a signboard, but Sookhu said public signboards have all switched to LED technology.
The city zoning officer denied the use for St. Mary's, so the church has not yet applied to the Zoning Board for relief. Sookhu said the zoning officer suggested having the discussion with the HPC, as it might be a problem there too.
The revised sign ordinance may come up for approval this fall, Scott Bauman of the Planning Division said Tuesday.