Friday, May 3, 2013

Bringing Hulk to the Northlake Public Library District: Is Everything in Order?



Northlake library hopes online Hulk campaign will bring in the green. (Franklin Park Herald-Journal, 5/2/2013)

The Northlake (Illinois) Public Library District hopes to raise $30,000 to purchase, among other items, a 9-foot statue of Hulk, the Marvel Comics superhero.

Being familiar with the strict requirements of many communities' sign ordinances, I wonder if everyone in Northlake, their friendliness notwithstanding, has indeed signed off on this project.

For example, staff considering such an idea at the Middleton (Wisconsin) Public Library would be first advised to take a look at the local ordinances.   (And in Northlake's case, being a district library doesn't exempt it from the laws and regulations of the municipality in which the physical library is located.)

The City of Middleton sign ordinance, which runs to 35 pages, includes nearly 5 pages of definitions, including one for any "Attention-Attracting Object", statuary included.

The sign code applies to all of these various types of signs.


Forms must be filled out and fees paid.


Step 1.  Obtain permit from Director of Planning and Zoning.  That would be Eileen Kelley for a City of Middleton proposal.

Step 2.  Fill out the form.  Information provided must include (but is not limited to)
  • The configuration of the proposed sign listing the 
    • height, 
    • width, 
    • total square footage, 
    • proposed copy, 
    • method of construction and attachment, 
    • method of illumination and description of all electrical equipment, 
    • sign materials and colors, and 
    • at least one image showing the location of the proposed sign and its relationship to either the building to which it is to be mounted or the surrounding lot if it is a ground sign.
Step 3.  Application process and review by Planning and Zoning Director

Step 4.  Plan Commission review and approval.

This isn't just a Middleton thing.

Based on the report presented during Wednesday's LIS 712 Public Library class by the Fitchburg Public Library field project group. local officials there would go into apoplexy over such a project proposal.  Directional signs are hard enough to come by.  (Fitchburg's sign ordinance.)

Northlake's sign code defines an "attention getting device".

And sets forth its sign regulations in a series of 10 chapters.

Questions may be referred to the Northlake City Clerk.

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1 comment:

Allison said...

Hi Paul,

I'm a staff member at the Northlake Public Library District. We're actually planning to house the Hulk statue inside the library building, next to the graphic novel section. Since it's not outdoors, Northlake's sign ordinance shouldn't apply to this project. Thanks for your thoughts and concerns.