Zoners table sign proposals

Commissioners say revisions invite clutter

KINGMAN - The Kingman Planning & Zoning Commission on Tuesday voted to table an amendment to loosen the city sign ordinance after several commissioners voiced concerns over proposed changes to the section on off-premise ongoing temporary signs.

Over the last several months, a group of local business owners including car dealers, Realtors and several others have been meeting to draft the amendment to address their belief that the existing sign ordinance is too strict. Those changes were presented to Commissioners Tuesday night.

The changes as written would allow businesses in any commercial or industrial zone to display ongoing on-premises signs year round without need of a sign permit, with businesses allowed one square foot of signage for every foot of building frontage, plus an additional square foot for every foot of property frontage, up to a maximum 150 square feet. The signs could include A-frame signs, streamers, banners, flags and balloons, all up to maximum 30 feet high.

In addition, the amendment would allow any business to display an unlimited number of off-premise signs on any private property in town, provided the business receives written permission from the property owner and obtains a sign permit at no cost. That provision is what set off alarm bells among several commissioners, particularly Bill Lacy and Scott McCoy.

"If I understand this right, if real estate uses this right here, for their (open house) signs, then anyone else can use that?" Lacy asked.

"Correct," said Development Services Director Gary Jeppson. "If these regulations are adopted, they would allow for signage on any property."

McCoy said the lack of any limit on the number of off-premise signs could easily set up a situation where one business could get an entire string of residences to put up large numbers of temporary signs, which would go against the sign ordinance's goal of reducing clutter.

"Assuming a businessperson had permission from 75 or 80 people in a neighborhood advertising his business downtown, he could do that, as long as it's from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m." McCoy said.

McCoy added that, since the city could not legally define which kinds of businesses could display such signs, his next-door neighbor could feasibly put up a sign in his yard advertising, for example, a massage parlor. McCoy said he could not accept such a lenient code. "I see way too many signs in too many places," he said.

McCoy, Lacy and Commissioner Mike Schoeff agreed that, rather than pass the amendment as-written, they would rather meet with business owners and city staff to try to work out a more acceptable alternative. Car dealer Martin Swanty indicated he had no problem with this, since the city has instituted a moratorium on sign code enforcement until an amendment is passed.

Swanty further said that he and his fellow business owners had been responsible with their signs since the moratorium was instituted several months ago. Even so, McCoy said he was concerned that once more businesses start realizing the moratorium is in place, there could be "an explosion" of new sign clutter on Kingman's most trafficked streets.

McCoy made the motion to table the amendment, with Allen Mossberg seconding. The motion passed 6-0.