Commission asks for clarification of banner ordinance

After a recent enforcement blitz, the city planning commission on Monday called upon city codes and zoning officials for an explanation of what they are doing with a banner and flag ordinance and why.

About two weeks ago, codes officers began to enforce a sign ordinance that was on the books since 1998 but not recently enforced. The permit for “banners, flags and temporary signs promoting the businesses in the commercial or industrial zones are $15 for 30 days, and then the owner must remove the banners for six months, before reapplying for another permit,”said Gary Knarr, city zoning officer.

Charles Plankenhorn, a business owner and member of the commission, asked Knarr to clarify whether non-promotional signs and flags, such as the American flag and are not promoting the business require a permit.

“They do not,” Knarr said. “We are looking for businesses that display a flag or banner without a permit for self-promotional purposes,” he said.

Knarr and Joseph Gerardi, codes administrator, said the temporary sign ordinance might need some minor language changes and clarifications.

The purpose of the ordinance is to ensure the city landscape is not cluttered with promotional flags, banners and signs that are in disrepair and give the street a poor look, Gerardi said.

The ordinance needs to be modified to explain how “sandwich signs” that are on sidewalks outside of businesses that are taken after business close for the day or night do not require a permit, he said.

But what about other types of signs?

Yard sale signs fall under the traffic ordinance and are enforced by city police, Gerardi said.

Directional signs, which the city planner, Chelsea Myers, is exploring, are not under the zoning ordinance, Knarr said.

The sign ordinance revisions will be taken next to City Council’s economic revitalization committee, before a final draft is given to the planning commission for its recommendation for council, Knarr said.

The commission also approved business certificates of appropriateness for affixed signs at 45 W. Fourth St., and another at 10 W. Fourth St.

The signs are up but the official certificates of appropriateness are required, Gerardi said. Council will need to vote on the matter next week.