Council considers new regulations for signs

by Sue Serdinak

Feb. 20 council meeting

Richfield Village Council held a public hearing regarding signs displayed on residential and commercial properties. Planning Director Brian Frantz cited U.S. Supreme Court decisions on free speech that prohibit a municipality from regulating the content of signs. It can regulate the size; the size limit must be the same in residential and business zoning districts.

The zoning commission had proposed several changes to the zoning code, including the stipulation that signs could be no larger than 32 square feet. Councilperson Sue Ann Philippbar said the limit should be about 16 square feet, and the other members of council agreed, although councilpersons Pat Norris and Jeff Stoppenhagen were absent.

Mayor Michael Wheeler requested that council vote on the proposed sign resolution when all members are present.  

The legislation, Ordinance 16-2024, also regulates the size and location of temporary signs in commercial and industrial districts — such as A-frame ground signs and window signs — and regulates the width of driveways for commercial properties. The ordinance was read, but council did not vote on it.

A second ordinance was only read that related to zoning. It would repeal a section of the zoning code regulating temporary stores. By repealing the section, pop-up stores not in a permanent structure would be banned from the village.

Legislation was passed to contract with Hickory Circle Construction to build a timber frame pavilion on the Green for $100,000.

Council suspended readings and adopted an ordinance to accept a $9,789 grant from the Northeast Ohio Public Energy Council. Service Direct Scott Waldemarson said the money could be used to replace windows in Fellowship Hall.


Council adopted two resolutions for insurance. An agreement with VFIS is for accident and sickness insurance for part-time firefighters for $4,703. Council renewed property and casualty insurance with Ohio Plan Risk Management for $86,618, an increase from $76,385 in 2023. The village put in claims last year for two vehicles that were totaled:  a 2021 hybrid police vehicle and a 2023 service truck.

Councilperson Rick Hudak complimented Finance Director Sandy Turk and the administration for their efforts to control the cost of insurance.

Council approved the sale of beer and wine on the Green and in Masonic Hall for the April 8 eclipse party sponsored by the Richfield Chamber of Commerce.

Wheeler announced that following the discussion of guardrails at the previous meeting, he decided to have wooden guardrails installed on Humphrey Road. He said they would look more attractive than corroded steel.

Barking dogs

Wheeler reported that he met with a judge regarding a man’s complaint about his neighbor’s barking dogs. He said the judge told him a 10-minute recording of dogs barking must be shown before action can be taken against the dogs’ owner. 

Wheeler and police officers met with the dogs’ owner to try to mediate the situation.

Grant Street closing

Council scheduled a special meeting for March 18 to discuss the possible closing of the south end Grant Street, near the Richfield Brewing Company. ∞