The options businesses now have to promote their products and services are causing some communities to examine their zoning and signage regulations. This periodic roundup of zoning issues will keep you updated on some of the issues local businesses are facing regarding outdoor signs, including vinyl banners.
In Abilene, Texas, the planning and zoning commission is scheduled to receive a re-proposed ordinance to regulate signs in the city by the end of May, according to a story on the Abilene Reporter News web site. In March, the commission voted to send the issue back to a committee. The original ordinance would have outlawed all temporary signs, including banners, streamers, flags and pennants. The goal is to improve aesthetics without overburdening business owners, according to a story on the Abilene Reporter-News web site.
In Sussex Borough, N.J., the council is likely to introduce an ordinance regulating business signs in late May or early June. According to a recent story in the New Jersey Herald, the mayor stated that 90 percent of the borough’s signs would be considered illegal under the existing rules. Some businesses also claim that the ordinance is selectively enforced.
The proposed ordinance includes a standard banner permit costing $5, valid for 35 days. and a size limitation of 36 square feet. As in Abilene, the council is trying to balance the need for sensible regulations with the needs of business owners.
Another borough in New Jersey, Chester, is facing the same struggle as Sussex. Some businesses are complaining that the city government is increasingly an obstacle to their business success. On Chester’s Main Street, some businesses say that the enforcement of rules has not been consistent. One owner said the city limited the size of her sign and prohibited her from using banners.
Although three news stories do not make a trend, two takeaways should be noted:
Local governments are struggling to make sense of the range of banners and signs available to the public and craft updated ordinances and regulations.
Local governments are listening to businesses to craft rules that can be applied fairly without being overly burdensome.
As always, check what is going on with your local community, and if necessary, make your viewpoint known.
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