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Thread: Removing on-site pole signs?

  1. #1
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    Removing on-site pole signs?

    We are looking for ideas on how to clean up the appearance of a major freeway corridor, and think that reducing the number of pole signs might be a component of such efforts.

    Has your city, or any city that you are aware of, ever tried to remove or mitigate on-site pole signs along a major corridor?

  2. #2
    Lots of cities adopt new sign codes and declare the existing signs legal, non-conforming and place a time limit on their removal. Your corporate counsel should review your state's enabling legislation to ensure that you may do this.

    I will say that you can expect the sign lobby to react (possibly favorably and possibly not). There'll be lots of suits in the room when you hold your public hearing, too.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally posted by Gedunker
    Lots of cities adopt new sign codes and declare the existing signs legal, non-conforming and place a time limit on their removal. Your corporate counsel should review your state's enabling legislation to ensure that you may do this.
    Yeah, we have a sign ordinance that I am wading through to see what tools were included for compulsory sign removal along the corridors in question.

    Many cities use a slow, scheduled amortization process that allows signs to be retired over a number of years. I need to check on whether such tools are still available to us.

    However, since some members of the local community seek instant gratification, I have been asked to find examples of cities that have tried to remove large numbers of signs "overnight". What tools did they use, and what happened during and after implementation of their plan?

    I don't expect to find many successful examples of "aggressive sign removal", but I figured if a city has tried such a thing, somebody on this site might have heard of it.

  4. #4
    Cyburbia Administrator Dan's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by troy
    However, since some members of the local community seek instant gratification, I have been asked to find examples of cities that have tried to remove large numbers of signs "overnight". What tools did they use, and what happened during and after implementation of their plan?
    It's going to be very difficult, especially in Texas where 100'+ tall pole signs identifying businesses along frontage roads are the norm in most cities. People might not be able to imagine anything different.

    AFAIK, Lubbock has some of the strictest sign regulations in the state. Driving through there once, I noticed there was far less sign clutter than in El Paso, Houston, Dallas, or Amarillo. I think Lubbock had a five year timeframe for sign amortization.

    You might be able to speed things up a bit with provisions requiring immediate removal of nonconforming signs if there is a change in use on the site. Also look at how your regulations govern abandoned signs. Many sign codes require nonconforming signs to be removed if the sign is blank or the business identified is no longer located at the site for more than a few months. Such provisions are seldom enforced, though.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally posted by Dan
    AFAIK, Lubbock has some of the strictest sign regulations in the state. Driving through there once, I noticed there was far less sign clutter than in El Paso, Houston, Dallas, or Amarillo. I think Lubbock had a five year timeframe for sign amortization.
    Great! They're already on my call list, but now I'll make sure to look at their ordinance in particular.

    Our ordinance allows a 30 year amortization period for non-conforming signs built between 1976 and 2000, so if Lubbock can get away with a 5 year amortization period, that's great news for me. We'll still have some non-conforming signs in 2030, barring mishaps, changes in business names, or natural wear and tear.

  6. #6
    Cyburbian Otis's avatar
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    Lake Oswego, Oregon just had the last non-conforming pole sign come down. I think they used a 7-year amortization period. Courts upheld the ordinance.

  7. #7
    Cyburbian
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    Did this in some small areas I worked on some landscaped median projects for gateways. I took some pictures of the existing and then used photoshop to remove the poles and other clutter and add some of the landscaping. Made a good impression and helped me gain support. In some areas its amazing how much better things will look. Problem is it can get expensive if you are talking about relocating power lines underground. Sometimes in places the electric company will help a City out in part... They did in my case...

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