DERRY — Parkland Medical Center wants to install an LED sign to show emergency room wait times, but zoning officials didn’t give the plan their stamp of approval.
The Zoning Board voted, 5-0, to deny a variance request for Parkland to install an LED sign on an existing sign at the Birch Street hospital.
The board denied the variance at a meeting June 5.
Parkland wants to install the sign to give updated waiting times for the hospital’s emergency room.
Kevin Duggan of Metro Sign and Awning said the sign would help the community by giving valuable information.
“It will get the information out there,” Duggan said. “Having that information out there, people will know the waiting time is not long.”
Duggan said he was unaware of other hospitals in the region that have similar signs.
He stressed that people with serious emergencies should not rely on what the sign says, but would be taken in the emergency room as a top priority if they needed help.
But zoning board members said with the town’s new updated sign ordinance in place, the LED plan is not a permitted use in that area of town, the Office Medical Business zone.
The Town Council approved the updated sign rules in January, putting an end to a long process.
The updated requirements put more details on where signs can be located in town zones and what’s permitted.
A lot of emphasis was put on real estate signs, sign size, and electronic signs that are illuminated or flash information.
In Parkland’s case, the updated sign rules don’t allow the LED-style of electronic sign to be located there. That’s why a variance would be needed.
Electronic signs are permitted in other areas of town, according to Code Enforcement Officer Bob Mackey, including along Manchester Road up to the Londonderry town line, and on Route 28 heading south toward Salem.