Sign Regulation for Small and Midsize Communities
APA PAS #419. Kelly, Eric Damian and Gary J. Raso. Sign Regulation for Small and Midsize Communities, 1989.
Sign regulation is more an art than a science. It is an art that requires a careful balancing of the needs of businesses and others to communicate with the public with the need of the public to receive that communication and with community planning goals related to streetscape aesthetics and traffic safety. Thus, there is no ideal system of sign regulation. Communities have broad legal authority to regulate signs based on safety or aesthetic considerations, or both. How they exercise that authority is a policy determination that each community must make on its own.
The needs and desires of most communities lie somewhere in between the two extremes. The model sign ordinance that appears in Chapter 3 of this report is designed for such communities. Because it is comprehensive in scope, it may be somewhat longer than models that have appeared elsewhere. It is intended to address some issues that other models and types of regulation systems have failed to consider. For instance, some earlier models offer provisions that regulate, in part, on the basis of sign content. Such regulations can cause significant legal and practical problems, an issue discussed in Chapter 2 of this report. Despite the model’s comprehensiveness, it has been designed to be easy to use and administer. Some communities will also be able to regulate signs with a far simpler code than the model here. They might start with the model in this report and simply delete those provisions not relevant to their needs.
Before offering the model, however, this report discusses the major substantive issues in sign regulation, ranging from issues affecting sign location and design to such management issues as enforcement of sign regulations and control of signs that were erected legally but that do not conform to current regulations. Chapter 2 presents a simplified legal analysis of the major issues in sign regulation. The final chapter contains the model sign ordinance, with commentary explaining many of the provisions.
A copy of this report is available for review at the NH Office of Energy and Planning during regular business hours: Monday - Friday 8:00 am to 4:30 pm. You may obtain this report from:
Planners Book Service
122 S. Michigan Ave., Suite 1600
Chicago, IL 60603