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Thread: Temporary signs in strip mall development

  1. #1
    Member Glomer's avatar
    Mar 2002
    Land of 10,000 frozen pipes

    temporary sings in strip mall development

    I need some help....

    currently our ordinance allows for a business to have two temporary portable signs for 40 days out of the year.

    The ordinance wasn't designed with larger strip mall development in mind.........accross the street from city hall is town centre.....a strip mall development with 7 businesses. If I follow our ordinance, we could have 14 temporary signs at a time for 40 days in this area.........or temporary signs for 280 days out of the year.

    HELP!!! Would you take this all as one unit and make the businesses split the 40 days between themselves???

  2. #2
    Cyburbia Administrator Dan's avatar
    Mar 1996
    Upstate New York
    Blog entries
    I'm seeing more and more municipalities ban portable signs, and in those places that don't, fewer folks are using them. Portables seemed to be everywhere about ten years ago; now their presence seems limited to rural areas and ... Canadian cities, for some reason. Seems like portable signs are very common north of the border.

    That being said, I had a similar situation at my very first job. The owner of the one local portable sign rental company in town was extremely vocal -- "if you restrict my business, I'll be unemployed." Thus, any business was permitted the use of a portable sign for 40 days a year, which could be broken up into four 10-day segments of their choosing.

    I had one shopping center -- a beautifully designed Territorial-style structure -- where all 20 or so businesses were locally owned. Permanent signage was professionally made, and the main plaza sign was about eight feet tall. Still, though, the tenants loved their portable signs, and all of them would use one for at least 30 days a year. Sometimes, three or four would have a temporary permit at the same time. It was a mess.

    Could we do anything about it? Nope. The Chamber of Commerce was very anti-sign code, and they claimed that restricting the use of portable signs on a per-property rather than per-business basis would give those businesses who weren't located in freestanding buildings a competitive disadvantage.

    Last time I visited, the city still allowed portable signs, but there were very few in town. The portable sign rental company is out of bsuiness. I think it's because people eventually found out the signs just won't work; the long messages most displayed can't be easily interpreted at 40 MPH, and the profit generated by any additional business didn't cover the rental fee..
    Growth for growth's sake is the ideology of the cancer cell. -- Edward Abbey

  3. #3
    Cyburbian GeoTech's avatar
    May 2002
    Upstate NY
    It may be because my Town's location is so close to Canada, but businesses here love those portable signs. The Town charges fifty dollars for a thirty day permit, which can be granted twice a year. We allow each business to have permits even if they are located in a plaza. To do otherwise, would create an inequitable situation.

  4. #4
    Feb 2002
    I think localities are better off banning them outright. They are difficult to enforce, track and remove. They usually look like crap, and often are maginal in their advertising of business.

  5. #5
    Cyburbian mike gurnee's avatar
    Feb 1998
    Greensburg, Kansas
    Banning them is the best...if your council agrees. Our code is similar to Glomer's, but we based it on the land rather than business. One sign per zoning lot for no more than 60 total days in a 12 month period, one additional sign for each additional 100 feet of street frontage. A nightmare to enforce, but "don't run poor Walt out of business."

  6. #6
    Cyburbian solarstar's avatar
    Aug 2002
    Our code is pretty strict about temporary/portable signs - only 1 per developed lot or parcel (regardless of size). It sounds good, but enforcement is only on a complaint basis here so there are a lot of portables throughout the area (and will be unless someone complains about a particular site).

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