The following response was provided by Council after recent complaints by a local resident. The response typifies the ever decreasing powers Council’s have to manage their local area to the benefit of local communities.
“I refer to your recent e-mail to Council in which you express concerns about signage on display at specific locations in Chatswood. I confirm that my staff have been investigating your concerns and I now provide you with progress advice.
- Scrolling LED sign: Chatswood High School, 24 Centennial Ave., Chatswood
- Animated Digital Sign: Chatswood Primary School, 680 Pacific Hwy., Chatswood
The land occupied by the two schools is owned by the NSW Department of Education. Council has limited scope to control and regulate signage on NSW state government school land. However, Council is currently investigating your concerns with NSW State Government agencies with a view to perhaps securing an improved outcome regarding the erection and display of signage.
- ‘Meriton’ illuminated sign: 70 – 83 Albert Ave., Chatswood
The ‘Meriton’ illuminated building sign on the western elevation of Building 2 (serviced apartments) was approved by the NSW Minister for Planning on 14 August, 2014.
- Scrolling digital sign: Kayoe Furniture, 769 Pacific Hwy., Chatswood
This matter was originally investigated and actioned by Council’s Compliance Unit in July, 2013. The signage was subsequently modified in August, 2013 to comply with the ‘Exempt Development’ provisions of Willoughby LEP 2012.”
Complainants subsequent comments:
Thank you for your response.
I have questions relating to the information you provided.
Scrolling LED sign: Chatswood High School, 24 Centennial Ave., Chatswood
Animated Digital Sign: Chatswood Primary School, 680 Pacific Hwy., Chatswood
I am pleased that the Council is pursuing concerns over school signage with the NSW State Government, however I believe the Council had success previously when approaching Chatswood Public School over this matter. In the case of the scrolling bright sign outside Chatswood Intensive English School, can I ask that the voiced concerns of a number of residents be addressed by a direct approach to the school?
I am convinced that this matter should not require a direct approach to the Education Department, but if it should, will Council act in this regard?
Please note that Chatswood IEC has a separate Principal to Chatswood High School.
‘Meriton’ illuminated sign: 70 – 83 Albert Ave., Chatswood
Can you outline the circumstances in which the Meriton sign was approved as it sets a disturbing precedent as well as being kept on for excessive hours through the night?
Can you clarify if Council still maintains its policy of preventing west facing illuminated signs on high rise buildings within Chatswood CBD?
Can this decision be overturned?
Scrolling digital sign: Kayoe Furniture, 769 Pacific Hwy., Chatswood
This information baffles me.
Why was ‘Exempt Development’ approval given to the original sign in the light of a complaint being made? This seems to be the very opposite of the intention of Council’s regulations.
However, my complaint refers to a sign which is more recent, larger, brighter and more animated and replaces the one of August 2013 which received apparent sanction.
The original sign which prompted my concerns two years ago was smaller and less insistent than the present one.
The sign erected now is a new one and clearly breaches Council’s regulations in a most serious way by distracting driver’s attentions at a site of serious accidents.
Would you kindly forward the stipulations required to be made to the sign to ‘achieve compliance’ as it is now more prominent than the earlier one?
Further comments from local resident:
Thank you for this further information and your informative explanations.
May I make the following responses to your reply:
The Meriton sign, which as I have argued sets a troubling precedent in being the first west-facing illuminated sign, seems to fail if argued as necessary to allow this building to be “located by visitors to Chatswood”.
It is on the wrong side of the building from the transport interchange.
Was Meriton and the Dept Planning and environment made aware of Council’s long standing policy regarding west facing high rise signage?
The sign is bright and a dramatic intrusion into the residences it beams down onto.
As well it runs down the face of the building for many stories rather than being positioned as identification signage at the top as with all other high rise signs.
At present it is illuminated 24 hours a day. Other signage is switched off before midnight.
Is this not in breach of Council rules regarding illuminated signage on buildings?
Thank you in anticipation of your efforts in this matter. I recognise the limitations in relation to school properties.
In this regard Council achieved positive outcomes last year in dialog with the Primary school sign whose sign was made static, however this has recently been breached by the school.
This is a distraction to drivers in the narrow congested lanes immediately in front of this animated signage. the patterns changes regularly but has in the past used flashing full screen colourful images and scrolling text.
Incidentally, a school principal informs me that the DOE has recently issued revised requirements and all such signage must now be submitted to Councils on behalf of the DOE. Perhaps this is a possible further line of enquiry?
This is an important matter for the wider municipality as animated digital signage companies are actively promoting this new technology directly to schools.
The sign is now the third one on these premises, is very recent and I believe has replaced the one you referred to which had received earlier Council approval.
I believe it breaches the original Council stipulations in being larger, brighter and more animated.
My concern here is not merely aesthetic. I remain persuaded that it poses a serious accident risk to distracted drivers negotiating this dangerous intersection.
Cars regularly proceed through the second set of red lights, as they do not expect a double set of unmatched lights turning right from Albert north to the Pacific Highway.
thanking you again for your efforts in these matters