Bigger signs may be in store for Carson businesses |

Bigger signs may be in store for Carson businesses

Gorilla suits and dancing hot dogs may be allowed on Carson City streets if proposed changes to the city’s sign ordinance are approved by city officials in the next few weeks.

More serious proposed changes include allowing larger signs for shopping centers in the future and no limits on the length of time balloons can be displayed on car lots.

“Signing is important to a lot of businesses,” said Larry Osborne, Carson City Area Chamber of Commerce executive officer. “Signing is sometimes the only advertising they can afford.”

One of the changes would allow “portable signs,” which are currently prohibited, as long as the bearer remains on the business’s own property. “The proposed change would also allow gorilla suits, dancing hot dogs, etc.,” notes the Planning Commission’s staff.

At retail centers with 200,000 square feet of retail space, like the one anchored by the vacated Wal-Mart store, current restrictions allow only a sign as large as 300 square feet. The change would allow the sign to be as large as 500 square feet without the owner having to get a special use permit through the city.

The proposed changes to the sign rules were developed by the chamber who met with small and large business owners, sign companies, and city and state representatives for more than a year.

“Our recommendations, we feel, will be beneficial to the economy and business community,” Osborne said. “We don’t want sign proliferation. We don’t want signs to get out of control.”

If passed, changes to the current rules would allow business owners to buy an existing business and not have to go back to the city to have the sign reapproved.

Also, temporary painted signs on widows, mostly used for holidays and sales, would be allowed to cover more than 25 percent of the window space.

“Our question was ‘why?'” Osborne said. “Why is it limited to 25 percent? The city didn’t really have a good explanation.”

The proposal also takes a look at the use of balloons, popular in car sales. Time limits would be removed with the new changes but it would continue to limit height to no more than the height of any building on the site or 20 feet.

Planning commissioners will get the first look at the proposed changes Wednesday. If recommended for approval, the matter will be forwarded on to the city’s Board of Supervisors for final approval.

For a copy of the proposed sign ordinance, contact the Planning and Community Development department at 887-2180.


What: Carson City Planning Commission, regular meeting

When: 3:30 p.m. Wednesday

Where: Sierra Room, Carson City Community Center, 851 E. William St.