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A regulation prohibiting tube lighting such as that installed early last year at Flower Hospital from residential areas will be the subject of a Sylvania City Council zoning and annexation committee meeting Thursday morning.
But while the hospital’s lights are the rule’s inspiration, they will not necessarily be removed if council adopts the restrictions, city officials said.
Flower’s neon-esque green lighting, similar to lights installed recently at other area hospitals operated by ProMedica, were protested last year by nearby residents as being “Las Vegaslike” and too bright for the neighborhood. But city officials quickly determined that nothing in Sylvania’s zoning regulations prohibited — or even mentioned — such lights.
“The tube lighting that Flower Hospital put up does not violate any city code,” Bill Sanford, the city’s economic development and administrative services coordinator, said last week.
ProMedica and nearby residents reached an agreement last March to dim the lights 50 percent, but by summer some neighbors were renewing their calls for the lights’ removal.
The regulation to go before the zoning committee allows “illuminated tubing,” including neon, only in business districts, and prohibits it on buildings that border residential zones, said Kevin Aller, Sylvania’s safety and service director.
While city regulations restrict lights shining onto neighboring property, lights such as those at the hospital weren’t covered, and “we do not deem the lighting to be signs,” which Sylvania’s zoning also regulates, Mr. Aller said.
“Technology changes through the years,” he said.
Flower Hospital is in a residential zone. But under zoning law, its lights are a pre-existing condition that cannot be made illegal by passing a regulation. Instead, it would be “grandfathered in,” said Jim Moan, Sylvania’s law director.
Tedra White, a ProMedica spokesman, said hospital officials considered most of the feedback they received concerning the lights’ dimming in March to have been positive.
The zoning and annexation committee meeting is scheduled to start at 8 a.m. Thursday in council chambers, 6635 Maplewood Ave.