Council loosens regulations on temporary signs in city

KINGMAN - After months of discussions and tweaking, the Kingman City Council on Monday approved an amendment to relax the city sign code for on-going, on-premises temporary signs, a move sure to please many local businesses who rely on the signs to help generate business.

But Council did not pass the second part of the amendment, which would have allowed an unlimited number of off-premise temporary signs to be placed on virtually any private property in town with the property owner's permission. Instead, Council agreed to consider the off-premises regulations at a later meeting at staff's suggestion, since the ad-hoc committee of business owners established to discuss the regulations has not yet come to a consensus on the matter.

The amendment as approved will allow businesses to put up and switch out temporary signs on an on-going basis without having to seek a permit each time they do so. The signs can be placed in any commercial or industrial zone as well as in planned commercial development districts. The total square footage of on-premise temporary signage will be restricted to the linear property frontage up to maximum of 150 square feet, plus the building frontage.

Signs allowed include A-frames, banners, pennants, wind-driven spinners, streamers, balloons, flags and inflatable structures, as well as traditional signs made from paper or plastic.

The signs' height will be restricted to the maximum building height of the surrounding zoning district, and all signs must be kept in safe, presentable condition, with the property owner responsible for doing so.

Additionally, signs must be kept entirely confined within the subject property and cannot be placed in city right-of-way.

Council had originally been urged to remove the provision allowing A-frame signs, but members demurred Monday evening, arguing that they should be allowed so long as they were kept in good condition, on-premise only and out of the public right-of-way.

Several residents spoke out against giving businesses further leniency with their signs.

Gwen Gillman echoed some staff concerns that the increased leniency would only add to Kingman's sign clutter while producing no real benefit for the businesses employing them, especially big name businesses she said everyone in town was already aware of.

"The residents who buy the products from these businesses already know who they are," Gillman said. "The reason we aren't buying their products right now is because of the economy."

Gillman went on to argue that the more signs businesses put up, the less their overall impact will be for Kingman's consumers.

In addition, she said an increasing amount of sign clutter would make a poor first impression on anyone looking to move to the area. "People that come into town looking for a place to live, perhaps, that's going to be a negative to them - 'Look at all this junk all over the place,'" she said. "I think, if anything else, you should give the public a chance to sign some petitions saying 'I don't want any more signs in my city.'"

Another resident, Bill Delmar, said he felt there was nothing wrong with the existing sign ordinance, but rather, the city's track record of enforcing it - businesses only began protesting the sign code after Development Services began enforcing it in earnest this spring. Prior to that, sign code enforcement had been primarily done on a complaint-oriented basis.

Despite these concerns, Gordon made a motion to approve the amendment, with Keith Walker seconding. The motion passed 6-0, with Vice Mayor Janet Watson having excused herself earlier in the meeting due to illness.