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Thread: Municipalities that ban all freestanding signs

  1. #1
    Cyburbia Administrator Dan's avatar
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    Municipalities that ban all freestanding signs

    I'm playing around with Google Maps tonight, and I noticed that in the street view for Brighton, New York, a suburb of Rochester, there's no freestanding signs in commercial areas. Seriously ... none, except for very small signs at shopping centers. Otherwise, no monument signs, no pole signs, no nothing,

    Here's a few locations throughout the town.

    http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=e...45442316613215

    http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=e...99221471049262

    http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=e...39985874309728

    In all my years as a planner, I've never encountered a community that banned freestanding signs. I'm wondering if any other cities, towns or villages ban them completely as well.
    Growth for growth's sake is the ideology of the cancer cell. -- Edward Abbey

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    I recently read about a community in Ohio that, while they did not ban free-standing signs throughout the community, they did severely limit them in several planned developments, essentially only allowing development identification signs. Outlots were not permitted any free-standing sign.

    More communities should limit them. Most commercial/retail buildings are only located say 50-60 feet from the right-of-way. Why do you need a free-standing sign on top of the 2-3 clearly visible wall signs they already have? I would trade larger perhaps more (to a limit) wall signs to eliminate free-standing signs. Besides, you just spent all that effort planting street trees, front yard trees, parking lot screening, parking lot landscaping, and foundation plantings in front of a very attractive brick/stone building, why mess it up with a free-standing sign that no matter how you dress it will still look ridiculuous and unnecessary.

  3. #3
    Cyburbia Administrator Dan's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by diddy View post
    More communities should limit them. Most commercial/retail buildings are only located say 50-60 feet from the right-of-way. Why do you need a free-standing sign on top of the 2-3 clearly visible wall signs they already have? I would trade larger perhaps more (to a limit) wall signs to eliminate free-standing signs.
    I agree to an extent. I always wanted to draft a sign code that prohibits freestanding signs for single-tenant buildings when a wall sign is equally visible from the public right-of-way. It's unnecessary and visually intrusive duplication when a business had a wall sign, pole sign, and formula architecture, when a single sign will serve the same function.

    Still, I think that a very small monument sign can send a message that the business and the surrounding community are sophisticated, upscale and attentive to design, maybe more so than no freestanding sign at all. A very small monument sign can also be the focal point for landscape, hardscape and water features on a site.
    Growth for growth's sake is the ideology of the cancer cell. -- Edward Abbey

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    Cyburbian Plan-it's avatar
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    I'll bite. I completely and totally disagree with this. This is a way extreme example of planning that gives us a bad name with the business community and traffic engineers. What is wrong with a small well designed monument sign to assist commercial businesses? Do you want people constantly taking their eyes off of the road to look and find out what the wall sign says through the streetscaping that you have also required? Come on now, we can be business friendly and improve transportation safety while also creating attractive communities.
    Satellite City Enabler

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    Cyburbian Coragus's avatar
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    Not only do I agree with Plan-it, I'll add that more communities should make a better effort of making people post clear address numbers, especially in rural communities.
    What do you mean I can't plan? My SimCity has 200,000 people with a 99% happiness rating!

  6. #6
    Forums Administrator & Gallery Moderator NHPlanner's avatar
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    We don't ban them, but changed our freestanding sign regulations to permit a maximum height of 10' across the board.
    "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

  7. #7
    Unfrozen Caveman Planner mendelman's avatar
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    A outright ban seems quite drastic. I find it hard to believe. But it certainly isn't inconceivable - I certainly see wealthy enclaves who begrudgingly allow some commercial development doing it.
    I'm sorry. Is my bias showing?

    The ends can justify the means.

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