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Digital Signage Regulations South Dakota Business Owners Need to Know

South Dakota is known for its Black Hill Spruce trees, Black Elk Peak Mountain treks, ring necked pheasants (who incidentally go missing at times due to the frequently seen coyotes), Mt. Rushmore, and of course good ol’ country rodeos. It is certainly a hikers haven and a great place to pick up a few postcards. This state of “Great Faces, Great Places” also happens to be a happenin’ place for those who work in the signage industry. So, we've compiled some digital signage regulations South Dakota business owners need to know:   Every state has a series of official regulations describing both the types of displays and how they are allowed to function within that particular state’s lines. Even further, each state’s specific town is allowed to develop their own particular ordinances in order to adjust these regulations to fit the needs of each town.   With all of this information spread out in a million different areas it is pretty easy to get bogged down under all the technical jargon. In order to put a few minds at ease we at Cirrus Systems, Inc. have gone ahead and pulled the town ordinances for the towns of Yankton, Rapid City, and Sioux Fall and made them a bit more digestible for the average person not born in the powdered wig days. Yes, sadly we removed all of the “shall nots” and “therefore art thous”. Per convenience we have also provided the links to the official ordnance pages and section numbers to help people find the information they need a bit more quickly if they need to refer to the documents themselves.   We have also provided links to our own site so business owners, looking for an all around solution to some of the difficulties encountered while reviewing ordinances, can find relief in our available systems and software that work to make their displays fit both their business’ and their town’s needs!

Digital Signage Regulations South Dakota Business Owners Need to Know

  Yankton  -  Ord. No. 711, § I, Article lll. - Signs Sec. 27-77. (Media prohibitions) In Yankton, South Dakota there are many forms of signs that are prohibited by use within the town. These include, certain types of Banners, Beacon signs, Flashing signs, Gas pump bollard signs, Inflatable signs, Searchlight signs, Streamer sign, and finally Trailer or vehicle signs. Thankfully digital signage, like the LEDs provided by Cirrus Systems, Inc. did not make the list of prohibited mediums leaving them to be a very popular display option. Sec. 27-71. (Definitions) When it comes to digital signage Yankton more specifically describes them as, electronic message signs, which are considered an on-premises sign capable of displaying words, symbols, figures or images that can be electronically or mechanically changed by remote or automatic means. You will be able to search for this term amongst the ordinances in order to find information more quickly. Sec. 27-75, 1-10 (Sign design, construction, illumination, height and maintenance) Yankton’s first and foremost concerns are the conditions in which you must keep your sign. As a result, these are listed first. This is a large concern for most towns as they do not want signs flying around their yards during windy days or collapsing onto a property. Signs must comply with the town’s building and electrical codes as well as built using a permanent structure. They can also not be built on telephone poles, trees, or street signs. In addition the sign must be legible, cleaned regularly, and not defective. If it is, then the owner of the sign will be notified and asked to remove it or meet the requirements addressed. Cirrus signs are lightweight, easy to maneuver, and can be built to fit nearly any size needed, as well as retrofitted in order to fit existing display structures. This way you can reduce the hassle of having to switch out your current display and can insure that your display will fit securely into the existing framework.  Lighting is also a popular topic. In Yankton signs are required to have ambients lighting monitors which can adjust the brightness. This is to avoid affecting passing traffic or workers, for example it is nice to grab drivers attentions but blinding them may cause more crashes than customers. The signs cannot reach a brightness of over 0.3 foot candelas (defined in U.S. terms and regulations below). This poses no problems for Cirrus users as our display software allows you to schedule your display’s brightness so that it automatically adjust throughout the day.   Sec. 27-78. (Content neutral prohibitions) As for Yankton’s take on allowable sign content, it cannot resemble or imitate traffic signs since that could potentially confuse drivers or passerbys. They also cannot contain flashing media or be placed in any way that blocks government signs/signals, obstructs pedestrian or vehicle views, or on public property.     Rapid City - Ordinance number 6103 Sec. 17.50.080 (Definitions) In Rapid city, South Dakota an electronic sign can fit many ordinance descriptions including off-premise and on-premise signage. The main areas to look under for more specific ordinances include the following: Animation which are any signs that include moving graphics, symbols, designs, pictures, animations produced on a digital display. Electronic Message Center or a sign that can display words, symbols, figures, or images, that can be changed electronically or mechanically. Illuminated Sign where illumination is produced/transmitted through the sign face. Flashing Sign where the illumination of the sign can change rapidly between a high and low intensity. Sec. 17.50.080 C (Enforcement) Off-premise signs in Rapid City have been specifically asked to avoid content that includes moving animation, graphics, pictures, or video. Whereas other signs are generally prohibited from displaying flashing, blinking, or traveling lights. As well as content that obstructs or mimics traffic controls or related terms such as “Stop”, “Go”, “Danger”, “Warning”. Sec. 17.50.080 M (Advertising Message Required) Surprisingly you are not allowed to not show anything on your digital sign. If your sign does not have running content for a 30 day period you will be notified and asked to remove your sign. By planning your display’s ads ahead of time, which can be done using any of our displays, you can avoid this easily. By using our displays you can program different ad arrangements to play on a regular basis so you can avoid the dangerous blank screen. Sec. 17.50.080 N (Sun Brightness) Brightness levels for signs are also measured in candelas here and, like Yankton, cannot exceed .3 foot candelas above ambient light. There is a table in this section of the ordinances that provides a table of the area of your sign and the resulting affected distance. The brightness will need to be measured by a building official. Sec. 17.50.080 O (Existing Digital) Now, for the content that will be played on these displays. Messages and images, and really all other content must be static. These images then cannot change until they have played for a minimum of 8 seconds.   Sioux Falls - Section 160.577   160.577 B (Illumination) In Sioux Falls, South Dakota it all comes down to content speed.  Messages that move/switch content must be slow moving, they can dissolve, fade, scroll, travel but cannot be fast paced, blinking, or flashing. Any display of this kind is also required to have automatic dimming controls in order to meet ambient lighting conditions. Similarly to the other South Dakota areas, the brightness cannot exceed .3 foot candelas above the ambient light conditions. Cirrus’ LED Cloud Software makes it easy for these settings to be put in place. With this software you can schedule your ads and determine how fast/slow they run. You can add transitions as well as control the brightness of each display as it plays throughout the day. Section 160.579 (Nonconforming signage) Like all displays permits are required for the purchasing and placement of these signs. If you are looking to enlarge a sign or change its sign you will most likely have to arrange for a different permit to be approved. To learn more about digital signage regulations South Dakota business owners need to know, contact Cirrus Systems and we can connect you with one of our trusted South Dakota Sign Installation Professionals, including Creative Surfaces and Ace Neon Signs.  
There are some rules that are similar across the U.S. when it comes to the content, structure, and permitting of a display.
  • Signs cannot contain profanity, defamation, threats, illegal activity, deceptive or false advertising, or otherwise inappropriate visuals.
  • Your display must have a secured permanent structure
  • Your display must meet building and electrical codes
  • Permits must be obtained before the building of a sign.
    • Check to see if permits need to be acquired for sign size changes and location/position changes.  
  • It is also typical for the illumination of a sign to be measured in candelas vs. feet or inches. This form of measurement takes into account how much light is visible over a three-dimensional angular span (click here to read more about this measurement).
Many of the regulations listed above are similar to those of other towns within South Dakota's borders. This can serve as a helpful resource when trying to get an idea of what your town's ordinances might look like. For more information on topics like this, digital signage, or Cirrus as a whole, check out either our Homepage or our News page.
Cirrus Staff :