Vol. 15 Issue No. 9 | March 4 - 10, 2009

Carefree approves moratorium on sign rules

By Curtis Riggs | March 4, 2009

Banner, sandwich boards OK until Aug. 1

CAREFREE – Town council approved a near six-month moratorium on rules governing banner and sandwich board signs used by businesses in the community on Tuesday as a way of helping businesses to survive in the challenging economic times.

Carefree Planning Director Gary Neiss proposed a text amendment to the Carefree Zoning Ordinance last month because the ordinance does not mention sandwich boards and the language concerning banner signs is antiquated. Several Carefree business owners talked about how the signage works for them and has helped to drive in new business at last month’s P&Z meeting.

The moratorium proposed by Neiss, which would temporarily allow both types of signs will expire on Aug. 1, 2009.

Neiss said Carefree Town Marshall Patrick Farmer has met much opposition from business owners concerning the illegal signs when he has visited with them to tell them their signs are out of compliance.

The new proposed rules, which would go into effect after the moratorium, would prohibit banner signs, which are traditionally hung on an outside wall of a business, from being larger than three-feet by five-feet.

Sandwich board signs would also be allowed through the expiration of the moratorium.
Neiss stressed a business would not be allowed to have both types of signs, however.

“It’s one or the other,” he said.

A $5 permit would be required for both types of signs after the expiration of the moratorium. The permit would need to be renewed monthly.

Vice Mayor Lloyd Meyer questioned how town officials would be able to control the wording or quality of either type of sign.

“We can’t control what the sign says or aesthetics,” Neiss said while adding that one restriction under the new rules would be to allow only one sign per business.

“If there is a proliferation of the signs that will tell us there is a need for them,” Neiss said while adding the current proliferation of the signage is a “direct correlation to the economic needs of the community.”

Councilman Greg Gardner asked if balloons, or other attachments, to the signs would be allowed after the moratorium expires.

Neiss responded that all attachments could be prohibited, which was ultimately unanimously approved by the council.

Gardner also asked how town officials would deal with the signs if they obstruct road rights-of-way or sidewalks.

Neiss said town officials “would be out checking” if the signs were obstructing anything.