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Sign Holder Ordinance

zman

Cyburbian
Messages
9,244
Points
32
We have nothing like this in our office, but I would like to see if there is anything out there in Cyburbia that outlaws sign holders, or people hired to hold advertisements for new home developments, store sales, and oil changes. There are a lot here in Northern Colorado and I was wondering if they were outlawed anywhere.

NZR
 

boiker

Cyburbian
Messages
3,889
Points
26
zmanPLAN said:
We have nothing like this in our office, but I would like to see if there is anything out there in Cyburbia that outlaws sign holders, or people hired to hold advertisements for new home developments, store sales, and oil changes. There are a lot here in Northern Colorado and I was wondering if they were outlawed anywhere.
If you want to outright ban them:

Call them portable or moving signs. Are they permanently affixed to the ground? nope. Are they moving, blinking, flashing through artificial or natural means or creating the illusion of movement? you bet.

Or if you feel the need to be specific, I think a simple note like:
"Signs held by humans or animals or costumes worn by humans or animals used to draw attention to a particular business on any property are considered prohibited signs."

If you want to limit their use through strict controls, I'd modify the last sentence to allow them as conditional signs and list performance guidelines.
 

michaelskis

Cyburbian
Messages
20,174
Points
51
zmanPLAN said:
We have nothing like this in our office, but I would like to see if there is anything out there in Cyburbia that outlaws sign holders, or people hired to hold advertisements for new home developments, store sales, and oil changes. There are a lot here in Northern Colorado and I was wondering if they were outlawed anywhere.

NZR
Unfortunately, we have that problem right now with a few businesses. They hire people to walk up and down the streets holding signs. But because they are not attached to the building, we can’t regulate them. We are also having problems with businesses that are getting excessive with attaching signs to vehicles. It has been determined that our ordinance does not regulate signage on operable vehicles. Also any banners, painting, or signage on the interior of windows. We have a few building with massive windows, and one place painted the entire inside of a window taking up more than 50% of the frontage, and also had approved wall signs.

I wish we could regulate some of these things.

boiker said:
If you want to outright ban them:

Call them portable or moving signs. Are they permanently affixed to the ground? nope. Are they moving, blinking, flashing through artificial or natural means or creating the illusion of movement? you bet.
What about signs on vehicles, such as company logos or delivery vehicles?
 

boiker

Cyburbian
Messages
3,889
Points
26
michaelskis said:
What about signs on vehicles, such as company logos or delivery vehicles?
We allow signs on vehicles for the purposes of identifying the vehicle with a particular business. However, any signs on vehicles with the purposes of advertising...and it's clear to see the distinction are prohibited.

For Example: Little Caeser's Pizza: They have bought/rented a 17' box truck and applied advertisments on all sides (Thank you Fastsigns!) for their $5 pizza. This makes it an advertisment. The truck never moves and is parked in close proximity to the ROW to act a sign. This is a violation. Hair Cuttery where I used to work did the same thing, although their's didn't advertise a particular cut, product, or special. But, the van was parked upto the ROW and never moved. I never had a chance to really enforce that one. I often challenge the businesses to show that the offending vehicles are used for the business and not as signs. They can't. Hair Cuttery doesn't need a 17' box truck to perform their onsite only services.

Contractors, grocery stores that deliver, and even a cell phone store have vehicles that only indicate the name of the business and customary information such as address, phone, etc. These vehicles are considered to be business vehicles.
 

michaelskis

Cyburbian
Messages
20,174
Points
51
I just checked the ordinance again, and we have something that prohibits movement or swaying of signs, and requires that signs be a minimum of 10 feet from the public right of way. A person holding a sign often is closer or in the public right-of-way, and they seem to always be moving.

BUT, my supervisor told me not to regulate them for political reasons. (Public sector is such fun!)
 

Richmond Jake

You can't fight in here. This is the War Room!
Messages
18,313
Points
44
How about your performance standards? Where I've worked, off-site signs were prohibited and were required to be "securely fastened to the ground."
 

boiker

Cyburbian
Messages
3,889
Points
26
michaelskis said:
I just checked the ordinance again, and we have something that prohibits movement or swaying of signs, and requires that signs be a minimum of 10 feet from the public right of way. A person holding a sign often is closer or in the public right-of-way, and they seem to always be moving.

BUT, my supervisor told me not to regulate them for political reasons. (Public sector is such fun!)
politcal reasons? What possible political reasons? That's asinine. Will the politicians be upset if you remove potental distractions to the motoring public? Distractions cause accidents. :)
 

michaelskis

Cyburbian
Messages
20,174
Points
51
boiker said:
politcal reasons? What possible political reasons? That's asinine. Will the politicians be upset if you remove potental distractions to the motoring public? Distractions cause accidents. :)
I don't agree with it, but I was told that because it could be violating civil rights... Ok please stop laughing now...

My supervisor says that it is the same as protestors holding up signs, and the it starts to infringe on free speach because in that case we would have to go by content and we can't regulate content. She said to do the research before I go further with it.

SO, I am asking for help here. Does any one know of any cases that may have gone to court, if there is anything from the APA to back the regulation of these signs, and if any cities (in Michigan would be a plus) that regulate these types of signs.

Any help would be great.
 

zman

Cyburbian
Messages
9,244
Points
32
Thnaks for the info, this was more of a personal annoyance more than proposed legislation. It's nice to know I'm not alone.
 

DecaturHawk

Cyburbian
Messages
880
Points
22
boiker said:
"...costumes worn by humans or animals used to draw attention to a particular business on any property are considered prohibited signs."
Say it ain't so! How can you sell used cars without a guy in a monkey suit? (as we all know, everything is funnier with a monkey).

michaelskis said:
My supervisor says that it is the same as protestors holding up signs, and the it starts to infringe on free speach because in that case we would have to go by content and we can't regulate content. She said to do the research before I go further with it.
The courts have repeatedly said that commercial speech can be regulated. There is a regulatable difference between someone carrying a sign that says "Eat at Joe's" and someone with a sign that says "Bush is a Scurvy Dog" or "Kerry Wears Vietnamese Blood-Soaked Army Boots." While its true that you cannot regulate the content of commercial speech, you can regulate the time, place and manner of the commercial speech. Certainly, a human-powered sign falls under time, place and manner.
 

michaelskis

Cyburbian
Messages
20,174
Points
51
DecaturHawk said:
The courts have repeatedly said that commercial speech can be regulated.
When you move to GR, I will personaly deliver a 2 six packs of Oberon to your door step if you can get me information on those court cases!
 

The One

Cyburbian
Messages
8,289
Points
30
Signs....

Take a close look at the Clearwater Florida code:

Section 3-1803. Prohibited signs.
S. Signs carried, waved or otherwise displayed by persons either on public rights-of-way or in a manner visible from public rights-of-way. This provision is directed toward such displays intended to draw attention for a commercial purpose, and is not intended to limit the display of placards, banners, flags or other signage by persons participating in demonstrations, political rallies and similar events.

(key point: notice the above text is narrow in scope and content neutral with regard to commercial signs)

also;
L. Signs located on publicly-owned land or easements or inside street rights-of-way, except (a) as allowed in Section 3-1805(W), (b) signs on transit shelters erected pursuant to Section 3-2203 and permitted pursuant to Section 3-1806(B)(4), (c) sandwich board signs to the extent permitted in the Downtown District pursuant to Section 3-1805(V) and (d) as allowed in Section 3-1806 (A). Prohibited signs shall include but shall not be limited to handbills, posters, advertisements, or notices that are attached in any way upon lampposts, telephone poles, utility poles, bridges, and sidewalks.

This code was recently upheld in court...............
 

michaelskis

Cyburbian
Messages
20,174
Points
51
The One said:
Take a close look at the Clearwater Florida code:

Section 3-1803. Prohibited signs.


This code was recently upheld in court...............
Can you send me a link to that court case. I have told my supervisor that we can regulate them based on intent as commercial signage, but she will not accept that without documented proof that it can hold up in court. She seems positive that it will not hold up.
 

NHPlanner

A shadow of my former self
Staff member
Moderator
Messages
9,945
Points
40
michaelskis said:
Can you send me a link to that court case. I have told my supervisor that we can regulate them based on intent as commercial signage, but she will not accept that without documented proof that it can hold up in court. She seems positive that it will not hold up.
I haven't perused it yet, but this may be helpful:

http://www.signlaw.com/
 

The One

Cyburbian
Messages
8,289
Points
30
Sign Info

michaelskis said:
Can you send me a link to that court case. I have told my supervisor that we can regulate them based on intent as commercial signage, but she will not accept that without documented proof that it can hold up in court. She seems positive that it will not hold up.
Michaelskis:

By the way, where do you like to ski?

Look to-
Granite State Outdoor Advertising, Inc. v. City of Clearwater, 213 F.Supp.2d 1312 (M.D.Fla. 2002) for specific legal discussion and background. (Update: I just found out the case was appealed to the 11th circuit and the code withstood the test- see the link bellow) I called a Florida attorney who is a sign regulation expert to verify that the Clearwater code is good and up to date. While this was a district court action (and appellate), the code withstood the standing claim.

As long as the language is narrow in scope and doesn't step on 1st amendment right of free speech and the entire code is content neutral, you should be ok.....
Try this link: Appeal to 11th circuit;
http://www.ca11.uscourts.gov/opinions/ops/200214434.pdf
 
Last edited:

michaelskis

Cyburbian
Messages
20,174
Points
51
The One said:
By the way, where do you like to ski?
Someplace where they do not have $5.00 pizza...

I worked for Marquette Mountain for 5 years in the shop and filled in for snowboard and ski instructors. I have skied alot in the mid west and east cost. This past winter, I was on a league race team at Timber Ridge about 20 min from here....

Thanks for the info!
 

The One

Cyburbian
Messages
8,289
Points
30
Supervisor

michaelskis said:
Someplace where they do not have $5.00 pizza...

I worked for Marquette Mountain for 5 years in the shop and filled in for snowboard and ski instructors. I have skied alot in the mid west and east cost. This past winter, I was on a league race team at Timber Ridge about 20 min from here....

Thanks for the info!
By the way, your supervisor is correct to land on the side of caution with signs....its such a fluid legal area.... Until I looked into this issue, I would have said the same thing.....

I've only skied in Colorado/New Mexico and Utah, but all skiing is all good regardless of where you are or the conditions....still beats the hell out of working..... :-D
 

BWharrie

Cyburbian
Messages
74
Points
4
We here downunder in new South Wales have a State Local Government Act in which we can control many things out on the pavement. Our Council (www.alburycity.nsw.gov.au) has a street activities policy that controls "sandwich" boards, pavement dining, and other "activities" liable to cause a nuisance. We charge say $50 per year for a sandwich board and up to $50 per chair per year for street dining. Now we are setting up a special "street - front of shop" display that is sight-impaired friendly yet still permits shop keepers display some of their goods on the pavement in the pedestrian shopping precinct.
 

SW MI Planner

Cyburbian
Messages
3,194
Points
26
ok, so this was brought up at PC last night. Our ordinance prohibits "animated and/or flashing signs (except traffic control devices)" and also "portable signs". Do you think I could get away with saying that the people holder signs are prohibited? Depending on how you interpret animated, flashing, and portable, they could meet all three.

Also, if these signs go out on a daily basis (they are not there 24/7), if we amend our ordinance to say moving signs (or whatever) would these signs be grandfathered in?
 

The One

Cyburbian
Messages
8,289
Points
30
Tough one....

SW MI Planner said:
ok, so this was brought up at PC last night. Our ordinance prohibits "animated and/or flashing signs (except traffic control devices)" and also "portable signs". Do you think I could get away with saying that the people holder signs are prohibited? Depending on how you interpret animated, flashing, and portable, they could meet all three.

Also, if these signs go out on a daily basis (they are not there 24/7), if we amend our ordinance to say moving signs (or whatever) would these signs be grandfathered in?
I would suggest a nice discussion with your attorney and bring copies of the clearwater ordinance as referred to above and see if that cases has finally been decided....I don't see how they could be non-conforming, since that means they must have been conforming at some point in the past....
 

Suburb Repairman

moderator in moderation
Staff member
Moderator
Messages
7,414
Points
34
I think you could get away with calling it an animated sign and tell the applicant that they are prohibited without changing the ordinance, though it would be a good idea to clarify it in a later amendment.

To me, if somebody is walking around with a sign, then it is moving.

Moving = possessing or characterized by life = animated. Below is the gospel according to Merriam-Webster:

Main Entry: 1an·i·mate
Pronunciation: 'a-n&-m&t
Function: adjective
Etymology: Middle English, from Latin animatus, past participle of animare to give life to, from anima breath, soul; akin to Old English Othian to breathe, Latin animus spirit, Greek anemos wind, Sanskrit aniti he breathes
1 : possessing or characterized by life : ALIVE
2 : full of life : ANIMATED
 

cololi

Cyburbian
Messages
1,185
Points
22
I think the easiest way to enforce it is by calling them "off premise signs" We have done this in the past and have not been challenged as of yet. We also prohibit commercial signs on public property, like sidewalks. The most common violators are Little Ceasars, income tax preparations place, and quick oil/lube joints. Your director is smoking crack if she thinks that you can not regulate them. Like someone else said, time, place and mannerism regulations are legal controls.
 

Jen

Cyburbian
Messages
1,704
Points
26
I've seen the human sign, I feel sorry for the jerks in their outlandish yet incognito uniforms bopping and waving at the traffic. But what is the problem there? Ok we know they are often in the ROW, a possible distraction. Their antics are somewhat annoying but I do smile and wave back. But consider that is a wage earner in the monkey suit who is a contributing tax payer although a doofus IMO for answering the "creative marketeering" want ad. I think business need a little more slack in trying to contact their customer base.
No?
 

zman

Cyburbian
Messages
9,244
Points
32
Jen said:
I've seen the human sign, I feel sorry for the jerks in their outlandish yet incognito uniforms bopping and waving at the traffic. But what is the problem there? Ok we know they are often in the ROW, a possible distraction. Their antics are somewhat annoying but I do smile and wave back. But consider that is a wage earner in the monkey suit who is a contributing tax payer although a doofus IMO for answering the "creative marketeering" want ad. I think business need a little more slack in trying to contact their customer base.
No?
I'm sorry. I see this as a nuisance and a way for businesses (who do not want to work with OUR city for permits) to skirt our temporary sign regulations. Overall I think this ruins the streetscape and the image of a town.

Just two cents of my own, it's been some time and a lot of experience since I posted this thread.
 

The One

Cyburbian
Messages
8,289
Points
30
A Marginal Business

Jen said:
I've seen the human sign, I feel sorry for the jerks in their outlandish yet incognito uniforms bopping and waving at the traffic. But what is the problem there? Ok we know they are often in the ROW, a possible distraction. Their antics are somewhat annoying but I do smile and wave back. But consider that is a wage earner in the monkey suit who is a contributing tax payer although a doofus IMO for answering the "creative marketeering" want ad. I think business need a little more slack in trying to contact their customer base.
No?
I don't think we should be subjected to the death throws of what surely is a marginal business in the first place, to have to resort to putting a human being in a hot dog suit at the corner of the two busiest streets in the world :-\

Continue Rant: Also, I've had it with these people working every flippen corner darting in and out of traffic just to sell a .50c paper or homeless rag :eek:| Someone should do a study on how much these yahoos cost all of us in insurance premiums after one of them sues and ends up eating lobster in Costa Rica..... :-o I mean, if you want tort reform, make it a crime to get hit by a car while being a dumb ass ;-)
 
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