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Waiving sign permit fees

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#1
I am a student intern for al municipality in California and am writing the Sign Ordinance update. Does anyone have experience or know of a city that does not have a fee associated with a sign permit? It has occurred to me that if our goal as a city is to promote local businesses and maintain aesthetics as a beach town, requiring a permit but not attaching a fee will help both of these goals. Local businesses have enough financial burdens and signs themselves are expensive. We only received maybe around 10 sign permit applications last year, so lost revenue for the city can easily be moved to some other planning permit. Just curious if anyone has experience with this, thanks you!
 

dvdneal

Cyburbian
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#2
I'm in a rural area so we go easy on signs. I just list which signs are not regulated, meaning no permit or anything needed, just do it and which signs just don't need a permit. Pretty much any new commercial sign will require a low cost permit to make sure it's done right. My experience is that you charge some minimal amount or people just start thinking no permit is required. Even if you charge $10 you should charge something. It says, yes we're serious about permits, and yes we respect the idea that permits are a cost to businesses so we charge as little as we can.
 
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#3
That makes sense, however we are planning on reviewing if a business has a permitted sign when they renew their business license and requiring they submit an application and/or bring their signs into compliance prior to getting renewed. This would show we are serious about signs. I do agree at least lowering the cost would help as well.
 

AG74683

Cyburbian
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#4
My permit is $50.00 a sign. If that makes or breaks your business, you should probably just close. Give an inch, take a mile man. You start waiving fees for these, that's just the tip of the iceberg.
 

Otis

Cyburbian
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#5
Our permit fees are limited to the reasonable costs of processing the permit. As a matter of policy, we have a low permit fee for signs ($100) which does not cover the processing costs, but the council does not want much a burden for businesses. As for just adding the lost revenue to some other fee, since our permit fees are limited to the reasonable costs of processing the permit we can not make it up elsewhere.
 

Gedunker

Mod
Moderator
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#8
The idea that signs increase sales is a product of the sign industry to benefit the sign industry. If your business provides a great product/service at a fair price, customers will find you. Especially today with smart phones everywhere.

Waiving sign permit fees is a recipe for the worst visual clutter you can imagine.
 

dw914er

Cyburbian
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#12
I am a student intern for al municipality in California and am writing the Sign Ordinance update. Does anyone have experience or know of a city that does not have a fee associated with a sign permit? It has occurred to me that if our goal as a city is to promote local businesses and maintain aesthetics as a beach town, requiring a permit but not attaching a fee will help both of these goals. Local businesses have enough financial burdens and signs themselves are expensive. We only received maybe around 10 sign permit applications last year, so lost revenue for the city can easily be moved to some other planning permit. Just curious if anyone has experience with this, thanks you!
We have a really low cost application fee for new signs, but I do not think it has promoted higher-quality signs.
 
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#13
If you mess with fees, don't you want to make sure the budget still works? You probably want to do a fee study to see if you are over/under charging for your permits.
 
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