Chamber Provides Feedback On Proposed Revisions to Sign Ordinance

The Greater Tallahassee Chamber of Commerce was asked by the City of Tallahassee to attend the August 17, 2011, Open House on the Proposed Revisions to Sign Ordinance  (Ordinance No. 11-O-14) to provide comments and input to the proposed changes. Chamber representatives and members attended the event and discussed possible recommendations with City staff.

In addition, the Chamber asked Jeff Herig, (chamber member and owner of FastSigns) to serve as Chair of a Sign Ordinance Review Committee. He was asked to convene members/business owners to review the revisions and to provide additional input for City consideration.

The proposed changes reviewed by the committee include:

· new definitions;

· new regulations for electronic reader boards (like the bank and drug store signs);

· new public information signs for the downtown area and advertising signs on bus shelters in various parts of the City;

· prohibition of billboards on certain City gateways and other roadways;

· address where billboards can be located at intersections; clarify spacing requirements for billboards;

· and other topics.

Suggested changes and suggestions compiled by the committee on behalf of the business community

Regarding Off-Site Advertising Signs (billboards, etc.), the Chamber suggests:

· Allowing billboard companies to request to receive the trading of multiple static signs for a single tri-vision or variable message sign. As it stands, the City is the only entity that can currently initiate this request.

· Reviewing the list of gateway road designations for possible removals as the current list is restrictive.

· Creating a specific cap and replace rule on gateway roads. As it stands, once a structure is removed from a gateway road, it cannot be replaced.

· Regulating that government advertisements, and government owned and operated variable message signs should comply with the same rules that the private sector must abide by (example – Civic Center’s variable message signs), with the exception of public health and safety messages.

Regarding Star metro Shelter Signage, the Chamber suggests:

· Using shelter advertising revenue to offset cost of purchasing shelters.

· Placing restrictions on types of advertising allowed on bus shelters (examples of prohibited ads might include tobacco, alcohol and adult-themed businesses).

Regarding Removal of Abandoned Signs, the Chamber suggests:

· Deferring changes to this section of the ordinance at least two years in light of the current economy.

· Defining “abandoned” as being a property that has been taken over by bank, or in which the owner is no longer paying property taxes, in regards to forced removal of sign structures from abandoned properties after a period of eighteen months.

· Defining “vacant” as a property which is not occupied but is actively listed for sale or lease, or which the owner is using for other purposes.

· Providing businesses with a hearing before any sign or sign structure is forcibly removed by the City.

More Information

We welcome your comments. Please send written comments via email to Jeff Herig.
To view the proposed signed ordinance in its entirety, CLICK HERE.

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