A sign ordinance for the city of Warsaw will likely be readied for a vote by July 9 and, if passed by the city council, businesses that utilize people to stand outside with signs will be prohibited to continue those practices.
After nearly an hour of discussions Monday night, the Warsaw Planning Commission gave city planner Jeremy Skinner permission to make some minor final changes to an ordinance that has been amended as many as three times since it was created in 1999.
In the ordinance, balloons are prohibited except for the occasion of promoting special events such as First Fridays and other area festivals. Also prohibited are inflatable signs, roof-mounted signs, moving signs and portable signs. Area restaurants, especially pizza places, often use people to hold signs outside their businesses, but when the ordinance is approved – which is expected to happen in mid-July – those will be prohibited.
Falling into the banned signs category are digital displays that create the illusion of movement. As written, a moving sign is defined as “A sign that moves or gives the appearance of movement by natural (e.g. wind) or artificial (e.g. digital, mechanical) means for the purpose of advertising or attracting attention. 1) Streamer: A type of moving sign constructed of pliable material such as cloth, paper, or plastic, consisting of multiple pieces suspended along a line or rope.”
Digital signs, such as one used by Wildman Business Group and specifically referenced during the meeting, will be permissible but the lighting shall not be allowed to change more frequently than every 3 seconds. That is a revision from the initial ordinance that listed the time limit as 6 seconds.
Stipulations are also being placed on the placement of and the acceptable types of temporary signage. Jennifer Kauffman, CEO of The Vein Institute & Medical Spa on SR 15 North, read a prepared statement asking the planning commission to allow professional banners under the temporary sign requirements. Though confused by what Kauffman was asking, it was determined the type of banner she was asking to use will be allowed under the ordinance and that such temporary signs will require a permit.
Temporary signs will require a $15 permit and will be limited to a period of no more than 120 days. Discussion revolved around the time limit with various periods noted, but in the end the commission settled for the 120 days.
At the conclusion of the discussions, Warsaw Planning Commission member Jim Gast said he felt good about the ordinance overall adding, “… there’s nothing there we can’t work through.” Fellow board member Richard Keeven, however, noted that enforcement of several areas of the ordinance will be difficult as the city planning department just does not have the manpower to monitor everything. “We’re going to have to be the enforcement or a competitor is going to have to notice (a violation),” Keeven said.
Minor changes will be made to the ordinance and it will be brought back to the planning commission on July 9 for approval. The ordinance will then be passed on to the city council which will hold a public hearing on it before casting a final voting.