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Dallas Doc In LED ‘Light Fight’ With City

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DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – If the Omni Hotel can do it, a Dallas chiropractor wants to know why he can’t.

The chiropractor has a building sign with LED lights. But unlike the Omni, he says he’s restricted to how often the lights can change.

“The ultimate is the Omni,” said Dr. Samuel Laffel. “I’ve got an LED sign and I want to do the same thing.”

Colorful LED lights splash across the Omni Dallas Convention Center Hotel every few seconds.

Dr. Laffel spent thousands of dollars last December on a sign with LED lights for his chiropractic office on Oak Lawn Avenue.

Dallas Code Compliance officers paid him a visit shortly after the installation — not because of the messages on his sign, but because of how frequently they change.

“I’m being told because somebody complained, I have to have a static message for 20 seconds solid. Doesn’t move,” he explained.

“What about the Omni?” Dr. Laffel asked the city.

According to Laffel, the City of Dallas told him the Omni Hotel, owned by the city, wasn’t restricted to the 20-second rule because it was located in a “Sign District.”

“Up and down Oak Lawn there’s a million signs. I’m in a sign district too,” he said. “I’d like to run eight or 10 second messages up there with motion video. The Omni does it!”

Not everyone likes the idea of fast changing LEDs, especially for signs lit up and flashing at night.

“See, I think actually the flashing would actually be much more problematic. That quick rapid makes you look at it. That’s actually much more distracting when you’re driving. It’s much more of a driving hazard,” Kyle Wedin said.

Other than that, Wedin didn’t have a problem with Dr. Laffel’s sign.

Opinions of others, who did not want to go on camera, were mixed.

Speaking at a symposium on the Dallas Skyline and the bright light debate at the Dallas Center for Architecture, a conservation architect thought, “less was best.”

Marcel Quimby, of Quimby McCoy Preservation Architecture, said, “I’m concerned. I think on one building, it’s fun. I think if you have it on every building, it’s going to feel like we live in Las Vegas.”

A spokesperson with the City of Dallas said the Omni Hotel is in a Special Provision Sign District.

As for businesses breaking the rules that are outside that area, the city said someone has to complain for them to be cited.

Dr. Laffel said the city told him he could apply for a city variance but that it would cost $4,900 and there was no guarantee he’d get it.

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