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Thread: Finding a balance: off-premise real estate sign and today's housing market

  1. #1
    Cyburbian zman's avatar
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    Finding a balance: off-premise real estate sign and today's housing market

    What are you guys doing about this? Receiving complaints from a HOA in town, I went out to take care of signs placed on their property and within the right-of-way and all of these were real estate signs of some sort.
    Most of the signs adorning my office, waiting their 30 day detention to be picked up are directional in nature, but a few signs are the typical, plain realtor advertsiment sign thaat gets placed in a front yard of the actual home for sale--only it is placed at the neighborhood entrance as if saying "There is a home I am marketing somewhere in this development."
    When I contact the realtors, every one has given me the, "Well, what are we supposed to do, the market is so bad that we need all the advertising we can get...!"
    Of course, my argument about the code not allowing this, as well as my duties for the aesthetics of the town do not help.
    What do you guys do? Are you running into this?

    We have a provision that a realtor can have an off-premise sign advertising a home for sale, but it must list something specific on the sign (i.e. the address of the home) AND it must be placed outside of the right-of-way with written permission from the owner AND must be taken down no later than 7 days after the closing.
    This usually helps quell the cries from realtors, but I do get the occassional quip that if their signs are not in the right-of-way, then they cannot be seen.
    You get all squeezed up inside/Like the days were carved in stone/You get all wired up inside/And it's bad to be alone

    You can go out, you can take a ride/And when you get out on your own/You get all smoothed out inside/And it's good to be alone
    -Peart

  2. #2
    Cyburbian Otis's avatar
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    What I'm doing is saying "no." If you cut realtors a special break, you are making a content-based exception, which is unconstitutional, at least here in Oregon. What I have said is that if I give realtors a break I have to give everyone (including the local pron shop) a break, and I'm not going there. Our code is quite clear on what signs are allowed and which aren't, and I stick with the ordinance. I would be handed my walking papers if I didn't. I have asked a delegation of realtors to come up with a legally justifiable reason why realtors should be treated different from everyone else who wants to put up signs. They have come up with nothing, which does not surprise me since I don't think there is such a reason. They have the web, they have newspapers to advertise in, they can hand out maps to their clients, they can do all sorts of creative things to get people to the houses.

  3. #3
    Unfrozen Caveman Planner mendelman's avatar
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    I agree with Otis. Just stick with the code as it is. This is just a natural cycle in the housing market and the code shouldn't bend.

    You could have them seek variances from the requirements (if possible). Let them decide if it is worth it.
    I'm sorry. Is my bias showing?

    The ends can justify the means.

  4. #4
    Forums Administrator & Gallery Moderator NHPlanner's avatar
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    Had this situation come up in my community a few years ago.

    Here's how it ended:

    October 18, 2005

    Members of the Real Estate Community

    RE: Off-Premise “For Sale” Signage

    As a follow up to the sign workshop held on September 8, 2005, please find this letter as a guideline for how the Town will be enforcing the Sign Ordinance as it related to off-premise real estate signs from this point forward.

    As you may be aware, the consensus of the group at the September 8 meeting was that the Town should enforce the existing ordinance, as there were no suggestions received at the meeting, or any suggestions submitted to the Planning or Building Departments following the meeting suggesting any alternative methods of dealing with off-premise real estate signage.

    As stipulated by the Zoning Ordinance, no off-premise signs are permitted in the Town of Londonderry without a Special Exception granted by the Zoning Board of Adjustment. Additionally, no signs are permitted within any road right-of-way. Real estate signs are permitted only on the lot of the property that is for sale, in accordance with the requirements of the Zoning Ordinance. The Town is now prepared to aggressively enforce the provisions of the Zoning Ordinance as stated below:

    As staffing permits, the compliance officer will be seeking relief of off premise signs via RSA 676:17 which provides for civil penalties to be assessed through the court system at $275 for each day a violation remains for the first offense and $550 for subsequent offenses.

    We appreciate your attention to this matter, and thank those of you who attended the September 8 workshop meeting.

    Sincerely,

    Town Planner and Zoning/Code Enforcement Officer
    "Growth is inevitable and desirable, but destruction of community character is not. The question is not whether your part of the world is going to change. The question is how." -- Edward T. McMahon, The Conservation Fund

  5. #5
    Cyburbian Otis's avatar
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    Zman, check you PM.

  6. #6
    Cyburbian zman's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Otis View post
    Zman, check you PM.
    Otis check your PM...
    You get all squeezed up inside/Like the days were carved in stone/You get all wired up inside/And it's bad to be alone

    You can go out, you can take a ride/And when you get out on your own/You get all smoothed out inside/And it's good to be alone
    -Peart

  7. #7
    Cyburbian Otis's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by zmanPLAN View post
    Otis check your PM...
    Htanks. I checked mine PM.

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