Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Sign cops?

The only question that remains about the new sign regulations on their way to approval by the Ketchum City Council is whether the city will designate or hire new "sign cops" to enforce them.

The new sign ordinance that moved through the Planning and Zoning Commission and will soon be on its third reading before the council is designed to clean up sign "clutter."

What started out as an effort to control off-site sandwich boards morphed into an overhaul of the existing sign ordinance. A former rewrite died in the face of objections and, later, the distraction that ensued when the economy crashed.

If approved, the new ordinance will control the size and design of everything from signs on awnings and doors to signs on construction sites. To be legal, new signs will need officially issued permits from the city, which will charge permit fees. Sign changes in multi-tenant buildings will require new permits.

The new ordinance continues longstanding prohibitions on exterior neon and back-lighted plastic signs.

It will outlaw freestanding sandwich boards on sidewalks in the retail core.

The ordinance also prohibits balloons, specifically "any inflatable object used for promotional or sign purposes."

Violations will be misdemeanors punishable by fines of up to $1,000 and/or up to six months in jail.

Real estate agents objected to provisions that prevent more than one sign to be posted on properties offered for sale. They were met by council complaints about the length of time such signs might remain on the property.

The economy stinks and the council is sweating over how long "For sale" signs are posted and whether balloons are flying? Sign cops can't be far behind.

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