Why Have A Sign Ordinance?

How often do we see this? The City wants to control the clutter of the community so they hone in on their sign ordinance.

Street View, Cluttered

Certainly there’s clutter. Look at that mess!

But what’s wrong with this picture? Where’s the clutter? Are the signs causing a distraction, a mess … a clutter? If you eliminate every sign from this street, is it going to make a difference?

Now let’s go to the extreme. Las Vegas!

Signs on Las Vegas Boulevard

Certainly Vegas has A LOT of signs! You can see them up and down the Boulevard. Digital LED signs, a favorite target of City ordinances, are tremendously popular in Vegas.

So what’s the best way to go? Where is the line between a reasonable, fair ordinance and over-restrictive regulation.

For a business, that’s an easy answer. Eliminate the ordinance altogether! It’s not like a business is going to blanket their building in signage. And if they do, so what? They just spent a ton of money to bring revenue to the City.

For a City, it’s also an easy answer. 12″ tall white unlit letters on the building. One word. No freestanding sign. Believe me, I’ve heard many Sign Inspectors tell me, “They don’t need that signage!”

For my money, the City of Dallas USED to have the best ordinance. They allowed pole signs yet the City was never cluttered with them. They allowed monument signs and again, no clutter. They allowed 8 words or less per elevation on the building. It was a simple ordinance, yet comprehensive.

Now they’re making changes. They enacted a pole sign ordinance that is so severe it either eliminates pole signs or makes them so huge and out of place, sitting in the middle of a business’ parking lot.

Monument signs are now all over, in-your-face blocking street views and lines of sight.

They just recently created an insane ordinance against LED signs. They dramatically increased the amount of time a message had to display on them (as long as 20 minutes per message!), created unenforceable restrictions on the way the signs must be built (and created a legal time bomb between the sign owner and the sign company) and, on top of it all, their new ordinance actually ENCOURAGES larger signs!

Will it make any difference? The pole sign ordinance changed 15 years ago. Have you noticed it? Would you say the City is more or less cluttered now than it was 15 years ago?

I think the solution is a simple ordinance that is also simple to enforce, not creating an unnecessary burden on your City Inspectors. Generally limit signs to 75% of the width of the building and 25% of the height.

Limit pole signs to 200 sqft on side roads, as long as there is a 10′ setback from the property line and the bottom of the sign is at least 10′ off of the ground to keep it from cluttering the street.

Monument signs should have a 15′ setback to keep from blocking visibility to the side streets. Other than that, no restrictions on their size or height (any other restrictions are pointless anyways).

I’m sure my suggestions fall on deaf ears, as it is in the government’s nature to regulate. But maybe some City, somewhere, will see the reality of Sign Ordinances and make the right move to help their businesses, their economy and the poor Sign Permitting Technicians that have to deal with these Cities.

 

 

 

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