Will the city ask for a fee to cover election signs? Taylor livid – asked if they would want to finger print him as well.

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON June 19, 2012 –  It was supposed to be a response to a Staff Direction about changing the rules that applied to signs on Plains Road which was something Councillor Rick Craven had been wanting to get done for some time.

The Staff Direction asked that: Director of Planning “review the current sign bylaws as it relates to portable signs in the Plains Road Corridor. B) Look at the feasibility and appropriateness of reducing the permitted size of portable signs in the Plains Road Corridor to that of those permitted in the downtown. C) Provide for public consultation and D) Report back to Committee 4Q 2011.

Somehow it went badly off track, ruined Tracy Burrows’ day and had Councillor Taylor tied up in knots.  It was only when Planning Director Bruce Krushelnicki  stepped in and explained what was taking place that Council agreed to the staff recommendation on Plains Road that would allow mobile signs that related to the property they were to be in front of.

Is this a legal sign? And does that dog not see the fire hydrant?

Krushelnicki explained that the sign bylaw had not been reviewed in more than 20 years and that when a review is done staff bring forward all their thinking for a council committee to review.

Craven’s issue is that Plains Road has changed and is no longer a highway but now a mixed use corridor and the sign bylaw no longer applies.  Craven wanted the sign bylaw to reflect the new reality.

If the retail location is set back some distance from the street a large sign would be permitted.  If the retail location was closer to the street a smaller sign would be required.

Was the confusion the result of bureaucracy run amuck or staff extending their reach and putting additional options on the table for Council to consider. Taylor didn’t see it as the latter and Craven just wanted to get the Plains Road problem fixed.

Craven wanted large signs where the retail outlet or business was some distance from the road and smaller signs for businesses that were close to the road.  Craven has an image vision for his part of the city that has been developed through close collaboration with retailers and the Plains Road Village Vision crowd.   Give him that and he was satisfied.  In the end he got what he wanted and the rest of the report went back to staff for a rewrite.

Sign at Guelph Line north of new street. Are their days numbered?

There are signage concerns for Upper Middle Road, Harvester Road and added Councillor Sharman, “there are going to be problems along Appleby Line as well”.

The report from city staff had a lot of add-ons – sort of like a retailer adding value to the purchase just made with a free coupon.

Are these signs about to become a revenue source for the city?

Banners were going to be allowed and election signs were going to be given a closer look.  And, if there are real estate agents amongst our thousands of readers, and we know you’re out there, get ready for this one.  Staff was wondering if there was not an opportunity to enhance revenue by licensing real estate signs.  That one should go over with a thud at every real estate office in this city.

Is the city considering fees for election signs during the next municipal election?

The thinking with the election signs was that any candidate running for office would give the city a deposit of $200 and get the money back if there were no infractions.  Councillor Taylor came close to levitating when that one got to his ears. “It costs a candidate just $100 to file nomination papers and you want $200 so they can put up signs.”

How are you going to enforce this bylaw?  How will you know that I put up the sign?  Are you going to take my fingerprints?

With 15 bylaws to be enforced and a staff of five Tracy Burrows, Manager Bylaw enforcement gave a council committee report they sent back for more work and a "cleanup".

John Taylor was clearly on a roll here and Tracy Burrow, the city’s bylaw enforcement officer was having a tough time rolling with those punches.  When she mentioned that each infraction would cost, say $80, Taylor reached for the juice he was drinking.

The fee for banners would be the same $46 that applies to portable signs now.

This staff report was going nowhere fast.  Councillor Dennison was prepared to support the two changes that would apply to Aldershot and Plains Road but wanted “a better report with some clean up” done to it.  When it came to voting on the recommendations Dennison did not vote for the revised recommendation.

The city’s sign bylaw had not been revised for more than 20 years and in that time the kind of signs available to retailers has increased dramatically.  They now light up at night and can have visual images that are fed into the sign electronically.

The city has five bylaw enforcement officers with one dedicated to Aldershot.

The specifics on the sign sizes will be finalized at a city council meeting and we will publish those then.

The report is due to go to Council July 3rd – expect a significantly different document then.

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