by MIKE LESKO | REPORTER
Streetsboro — City officials believe the city has too many “temporary” business signs that business owners are not taking down. So officials are trying to tighten the law so they can immediately remove signs they believe have been up too long.
The city may reduce the monthly fee for businesses to erect temporary signs and limit the number of signs permitted per year.
“We are trying to correct things that have become a problem to the city,” Mayor Glenn Broska said. “An overabundance of temporary signs is not the way to go. We want to make the city more aesthetically pleasing.”
Now, businesses can put up a new sign every month for $100. Signs are supposed to come down after 30 days unless another $100 fee is paid.
But city officials say some businesses are paying the fee for a single month then leaving signs up indefinitely, which is illegal.
The administration plans to introduce legislation on sign restrictions at City Council’s Dec. 10 Service Committee meeting.
Broska proposed changing the 30-day fee from $100 to $50 at the Nov. 5 City Council meeting.
The number of times a sign can be erected in a year still must be determined by Council.
Broska said he would like to see the sign limit be four 30-day periods each year.
“We felt that $100 is too steep, but $50 is a fair price,” Broska said.
Several Council members are receptive to the new fee level.
“I’m in favor of knocking down the fee to $50,” Councilman Regis Faivre said.
“I don’t have a problem with $50,” Councilwoman Bridget Pavlick said. “That is thoughtful and fair.”
Pavlick said the intent of the signs should be to announce new businesses and to promote special events.
Jeff Pritchard, Streetsboro’s director of planning and economic development, said he believes a new law would help enforce how many signs are put up in the city.
Broska said the problem is that some businesses have temporary signs “that are continual throughout the year.”
“The law is ambiguous about what a temporary sign really is,” Broska said. “We want temporary signs to be temporary. At the same time, we still want to allow people to advertise for a sale or for a specific season. We want a law that we can live with and enforce. We’re not trying to restrict people, but we get complaints from citizens.”
In addition, Broska said the city intends to change the law “so the city can remove a sign right away, instead of waiting 30 days, as is done in many communities.”
“When we see a sign that is illegal, the zoning inspector will be able to go out and remove it right away,” he said.
Broska said what the city is trying to do is “clean things up a little, but not make it a hassle for business owners.”
“There is a fine line,” he said. “What we’re trying to do is get to that point where we have a law that is acceptable to the overwhelming majority. There are always people who will be upset.
“In the grand scheme of things, it will make for a much nicer looking city,” Broska said. “We won’t have all these signs all over the place.”