VOL. 17 ISSUE NO. 50   |  DECEMBER 14 – 20, 2011


Carefree moves toward extending sign moratorium

‘This is the notice to shopkeepers – If we do nothing, A-frame signs go away in 30 days’

CAREFREE – Town council mulled over the first reading of an ordinance during the Dec. 6 meeting that would extend the moratorium on the sign ordinance prohibiting A-frame or “sandwich” signs for an additional 18 months.

Council previously passed a moratorium allowing businesses to utilize A-frame signs, which are otherwise prohibited by the town’s sign ordinance.

That moratorium is set to expire Jan. 30.

david schwanMayor David Schwan (r) said the only thing changed from the previous moratorium is a provision requiring signs to be no more than 30 feet from the business, to keep signs closer to the respective businesses, pointing out many signs have been creeping out onto Tom Darlington Drive and Cave Creek Road.

Councilman Marty Saltzman asked, “If we’re trying to implement a new sign ordinance, why 18 months?”

Town Administrator Gary Neiss responded, “Eighteen months takes them through the slow season,” adding, “During hard times, it’s an economical way to advertise.”

Schwan suggested 15 months, which would take businesses through April, if council felt 18 months was too long.”

The key issue Councilman Jim Van Allen expressed he had with the ordinance was the 30-foot provision and asked, “Has anyone talked to these shop owners?”

Schwan said, “This is the notice to shopkeepers – If we do nothing, A-frame signs go away in 30 days.”

Van Allen said, “I’m not a proponent of telling these 55 businesses they have to move their signs without any input.”

Schwan stated, “Citizens say they want a quality community and citizens say A-frame signs are not representative of a quality community.”

The majority of council agreed to change the ordinance to a 15-month moratorium, taking it through April 30, for the second reading.

While Van Allen suggested eliminating the 30-foot provision, Councilman Glenn Miller suggested making it 50 feet.

Schwan indicated extending it to 50 feet wouldn’t solve the problem.

He also said signs must be removed at the end of the business day and stated the code enforcement officer needed a process by which to enforce that part of the ordinance under the moratorium.

The ordinance will come back to council for a second reading during the Jan. 10 meeting, which was rescheduled from Jan. 3, due to the New Year’s Day holiday.