Signage gets another look

Rudy Hemmann

The Surveyor

Town statutes governing sidewalk “sandwich board” signs, along with political signs and encroachment by outdoor eating areas on public sidewalks, were given more than a cursory glance by the trustees during a study session Tuesday evening.

An information sheet regarding the subject, notes the town has no code which regulates sidewalk signs, but a policy concerning encroachment on sidewalks by outdoor dining areas is in place.

Curt Freese, the town’s community development director, stated the sidewalk signage issue had surfaced lately due to what some perceive as a lack of enforcement.

He went on to mention the town may bear some liability for not enforcing federal regulations regarding encroachment on public sidewalks, whether the encroachment is by an outdoor dining area, by sandwich board signs, or a combination of the two.

Freese pointed out that ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) regulations specify a minimum of six feet of walkable sidewalk adjacent to any obstacles. According to the information sheet a local establishment “had a permanent metal railing along the sidewalk which would not meet the ADA standards for a clear and passable area for a public sidewalk.”

“To address these issues,” states the information sheet, “staff is seeking direction on whether to draft an ordinance (governing sidewalk dining areas). The proposed … ordinance would require a site plan as well as proof of liability insurance to be reviewed and approved by the town every year.”

During discussion a question arose concerning whether a business could be “grandfathered in,” to ADA requirements, such as the flower gardens and tables in front of Da Bean Coffee Shop. Freese volunteered to contact the town attorney regarding possible options the town might be able to use.

The sidewalk sandwich boards have become an issue due to the fact the signs are not being picked up and stored off street as required by the resolution. The trustees agreed the town needs to start enforcing the rules currently in effect.

Political signage

A recent U.S. supreme court case, Reed et al.vs. the Town of Gilbert, has changed the ability of local governments to regulate signage related to religion, politics and ideology. The matter has affected all local governments across the country. Due to the case, staff is recommending non-enforcement of any content-based requirements dealing with politics, ideology or religion.

Mosquito fogging

The trustees accepted a refinement to the current mosquito mitigation through fogging.

One refinement allows the contractor to begin fogging operations before 10 p.m. where there is terrain which would be treacherous when fully dark and when weather conditions warrant an earlier start.

The board discussed the ramifications of canceling a fogging – would the town be charged a fee if town staff cancelled a fogging date.

The board rejected a discretionary clause to the current policy in the event that conditions change.

Staff was directed to make changes to the policy in accordance with the start time allowed above and bring the amended policy to the board for approval.

 

 

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