Here’s your sign…..
Posted: 28 January 2014 06:15 PM   [ Ignore ]
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Interesting City Commission Work Session, this evening.  Discussing possible changes to local sign ordinances.  Some interesting comments from commissioners and City staff.

City Commission does not want digital business signage that can act like a large tv screen.  They don’t want businesses to be able to have ball games playing and other moving advertisements that could be distracting to drivers… unless it’s in Aggieville and for the Faux Patty’s Day or the New Years Eve party.  Let’s ban one type of signage unless it advertises and supports our drunkfests.  Nice.  Sometimes I honestly believe the “conservative” members of this commission would applaud strip joints and porn shops… if they were in Aggieville and provided income for bar owners.  Varney’s and other AV businesses should be permitted to do no more with signage than any other business district.

During public discussion, a citizen stated that if he put up a sign on private business property… along FRB or Anderson… advertising a boat he personally had for sale, that would be cited by Code Enforcement.  City staff agreed, such signage would be deemed illegal.  Then, he pointed out a local school that allows banners advertising any number of events… not all on school property… to be hung on their playground fence.  He asked why that signage was okay, while a citizen could not advertise similarly in a like zoned district.  City staff… he’ll probably get his hand slapped… replied, “Sometime enforcement is not politically expedient.”  So… selective enforcement IS okay when it comes to City Code??  Does Code Enforcement have to get the okay of the Chamber of Commerce before citing someone for sign violations, just like the Commission gets Chamber permission to use the restroom or cross the street?

The current sign ordinance is outdated and certainly needs reviewed and modified.  Again, as a citizen pointed out, not one mention was made of City staff making contact with any other municipality to deem what was done elsewhere.  Seems like someone close to the Commission wants permitted for something not currently in accordance with City ordinances and the Commission will accomodate.  A local sign shop provided much more statistical data than it appeared City staff had acquired.  What has worked in other communities and what has not worked?  What signage has been allowed and found detrimental and permitting rescinded or limited?  Are we afraid that one political cronie who wants changes made wants something that might have failed in other communities?  Come on.  If we modify the existing code, let’s do exhaustive research to provide a rewrite that is well done.  Why have City staff suffer the embarrassment of another poorly written ordinace such as was the LGBT ordinance or the Rental Inspection Program ordinance?  Let’s do it correctly and let’s do it fair, across the board, showing no favoritism for specifric business owners.

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Posted: 29 January 2014 09:44 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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The process for gathering more info on the sign issue will include focus groups and a number of other events.  Details are on the city website - http://www.cityofmhk.com/signregulationsupdate
Most of the discussion was on the digital sign concept.  I think local business should be able to use them to replace the sign boards that advertise price of gas or specials at Burger King.  Why not use digital, easy to update and the letters will not blow off in a storm.  Moderation is the key.  Big giant flashing signs are not desired.  We did discuss the marquee –Varney’s.  Those three boards could be replaced with digital.  If the street is closed and a special event like New Years celebration or the Christmas Parade to benefit the Bread Basket is going on – why not allow TV like display?  It could be controlled as a special event.  Varney’s has the capability with the marquee to do a bit more than other business – that would be correct. But the ordinance should not allow special favors, it should cover special events and circumstances.  I think the comment on enforcement was honest.  The food events that benefit charities and the school, put Banners in the wrong place.  They have not been routinely busted by the code office.  It may be similar to KSU football games, no one gets busted for drinking in the parking lot – tail gate; even though signs are posted prohibiting alcohol consumption.
I think the final product will be a challenge. Some digital signs, some sidewalk signs, but with many restrictions.  The focus groups will help.  The work of other cities has been researched by the staff, but that research was not part of the discussion agenda for Tuesday.  You are 100% correct the challenge is to construct a well researched and worded ordinance.

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Posted: 30 January 2014 09:09 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Larry Williams - 28 January 2014 06:15 PM

City staff… he’ll probably get his hand slapped… replied, “Sometime enforcement is not politically expedient.”

Heh, I love it when that happens, when someone talks about entrenched “unofficial” policies like these openly, thinking everyone already knows what’s going on and forgetting that it’s supposed to be kept on the down-low.

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