St. Paul College failed to secure City Council approval Wednesday for a large full-color electronic sign on its campus near downtown.

The school, recently rated the nation's top community college by Washington Monthly magazine, wanted a 13-foot-high sign near John Ireland and Kellogg boulevards that would change every 30 seconds and promote upcoming events.

The city's Board of Zoning Appeals turned the school down in September, saying that the sign would be too distracting to drivers. The college appealed the board's decision to the City Council.

Council Member Nathaniel Khaliq supported the sign, saying he doubted it would be a safety hazard and that the diverse and popular college deserved it. Council Member Dan Bostrom said it was wrong to deny the sign simply because it could create an undefined problem.

But Council Members Kathy Lantry, Russ Stark and Dave Thune rejected the college's request, saying it violated city regulations.