Planning Commission approves of changes to city sign ordinance |

Planning Commission approves of changes to city sign ordinance

Jill Lufrano, Appeal

Carson City businesses could soon be able to legally have costumed characters advertising a weekend sale outside car lots or gift shops, or paint bigger signs in their windows for the holidays.

Planning commissioners agreed with a series of changes to the city sign code Wednesday, giving the go-ahead for the changes to reach the Board of Supervisors for final approval.

After listening for several months to concerns and recommendations from the business community, sign companies, city and state officials, a sign committee drafted the modifications and additions to the sign ordinance.

Some of the changes include allowing such activities as people dressed in gorilla or hot-dog suits to attract customers for a three-day event once a month. This type of advertising has been prohibited, but the rule was not easily enforced.

Proposed changes in the rules would also include people holding signs in advertisement. The two activities would, however, have to remain on the business property and not in the public right-of-way.

Though colorful, they weren’t the only changes businesses said they would like to see, said Lee Plemel, a senior planner for the city’s Planning and Community Development Department.

“The intent of the committee was not centered around dancing hot dogs, despite various articles to that affect,” Plemel said. “Some businesses felt that, well, sometimes people have sidewalk sales or outdoor special events over the weekend. Why can’t somebody hold a sign on the property or wear a gorilla suit and wave at people going by?”

Another issue raised by business owners was the limit on size of signs. Planning commissioners decided to propose changing the ordinance to allow structures larger than 50,000 square feet to apply for a special use permit to install signs larger than currently allowed. Signs are only permitted to be 300 square feet in size at most.

“We’ll have some guidelines prepared for that,” said Planning and Community Development Director Walt Sullivan. “We’ll adhere to the guidelines on an individual, case-by-case basis.”

Temporary painted signs on windows, like those painted on during holidays, may be permitted to be larger than the 25 percent coverage now allowed if changes are approved by supervisors.