Coast News Grover Beach

Sign of the Times

An agenda item on the April 16 Grover Beach City Council meeting could have an impact on local business owners.
After more than three decades, signage in Grover Beach could get a shakeup. The propose sign ordinance is designed to improve aesthetics as well as avoid legal issues particularly along the city’s key economic corridor on West Grand Avenue.
The new ordinance would emphasize that signage be consistent with the design of the building, as well as, to provide a “welcoming” environment to tourists and locals utilizing services throughout the city.
That would mean, in part, the elimination of roof mounted signage, a cap for the maximum square footage of a signs, prohibiting pole signs and those greater than 6-feet tall, and prohibiting scrolling or video signage often seen in larger cities. Suspended and awning type signage would be encouraged.
The West Grand Avenue Master Plan, adopted in 2011 states: “Signs along the West Grand Avenue corridor should enhance the beach town character of the area, while providing sufficient identification of businesses. Signs should be built to the pedestrian scale but should be readable by motorists and cyclists travelling through the corridor. Signs should not overpower a building’s façade, but rather attract customers to the business through a design that harmonizes with the building and its surroundings.”
Temporary banners and feather flags announcing grand openings and such would be allowed but for a limited period of time. The so-called live signs, people dancing or waiving signs typically while on public sidewalks, and vehicles that serve as parked signs could get nixed. Sandwich signs or “A” frames could also be restricted.
As for the potential legal issues, a recent United States Supreme Court decision in Reed v. Town of Gilbert has necessitated that municipal sign regulations be “content neutral.” In other words, political and ideological signs must follow the same regulations unless they fall into the temporary category.
This ruling has a “fundamental effect on how the city can regulate both temporary and permanent signage,” a staff report said.
This agenda item was postponed from the April, 2 meeting. If passed, the new ordinance would be implemented in July.

By Theresa-Marie Wilson


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