Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Sandwich-board signs must go

Ketchum gives businesses until Nov. 15

Express Staff Writer

Signs, a number of which are illegal under city ordinance, are prevalent on Ketchum’s Main Street. A prime example is the sandwich board often placed on sidewalks or other public rights-of-way. Photo by David N. Seelig

Ketchum businesses must remove their sandwich-board signs from sidewalks by Nov. 15.

It has long been against city law to put signs in any public rights-of-way, but Ketchum hasn't done much to enforce its sign ordinance over the past year and a half due to the sluggish economy and its effect on local businesses.

However, the city is now making sign enforcement a priority, and sandwich boards have seen the most complaints from both pedestrians and businesses in compliance with the ordinance. Complaints center on signs blocking sidewalks, thereby not allowing a wheelchair, stroller or even an ordinary pedestrian to easily pass.

Any sandwich boards still standing after Nov. 15 will result in the business' being issued one warning, according to Stefanie Leif, Ketchum planning manager. Second offense will earn the business a citation and possible fine of up to $300 for every day a sign stays up.

The city is currently rewriting its sign code to make it clearer and more enforceable.

"City staff, officials and business groups can work together to create a sign code that would enable businesses to effectively advertise on their property while ensuring that our city sidewalks are safe and clear," Leif said. "We are also exploring the idea of business way-finding signage."

The first public workshop on the draft sign code will be held Monday, Nov. 8, at 5:30 p.m. in Ketchum City Hall. The draft code will be available for public review by Nov. 1 on the city's website,

Businesses will also be asked to help keep sidewalks free and clear by repositioning other sidewalk obstacles, such as clothing racks, sale items, and tables and chairs.

For more information, contact Ketchum's Planning Department at 726-7801.

Trevon Milliard:

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