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Date of Issue: September 20, 2007

Sign ordinance set for first reading

Holmes Beach city commissioners hope to hold a first reading on a revised sign ordinance on Sept. 18.

The commission dedicated time at work sessions throughout the summer to drafting the proposed ordinance, which drew far less public comment than city officials anticipated.

The proposed measure spells out the size, number and location of signs allowed in commercial and residential areas.

“It is the purpose and intent of this article to create a comprehensive and balanced system of sign control that accommodates both the need for a well-maintained, safe and attractive community, and the need for effective business identification, advertising and communication,” the measure states.

City planning consultant Bill Brisson said he strived to comply with commissioners’ push to reduce the proliferation of signs in the city and to keep the ordinance as “content neutral” as possible.

The ordinance would amend the city’s land-development code. Key revisions include a new definition of a flag, regulations for advertising in murals and changes in real estate signage.

A flag, in the proposed ordinance, is a “sign made of a piece of cloth or material” that is secured on one side, usually on a flag pole, and at two points, leaving the “remainder of the cloth or material hanging limply or drooping.” A flag that is larger than 15 square feet or does not droop will be considered a banner.

Brisson said the definition is needed so people do not begin using flags to get around the regulations.

The measure allows for three garage or yard sale signs - two off the site on private property and one at the site. The same rule applies to “open house” signs, which can be put up one hour before the open house and must be removed within an hour of the end of the event.

Political signs cannot be placed more than 45 days before an election and must be removed within 48 hours after the election.

The measure allows for one real estate sign advertising the sale, rent or lease of a property unless the property is a corner or waterfront lot, where an additional sign would be allowed.

“No real estate sign shall exceed 6 square feet in overall area including all pendants, tubes or boxes,” the measure reads.

In murals, logos, text or other symbols related to a business shall be calculated toward the maximum signage allowed on the property.

The measure prohibits animated or moving signs, banners except for permitted temporary banners for events, electrical or illuminated signs in residential districts, signs advertising rates for motels or apartments, signs with exposed neon tubing and signs on mailboxes.