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Sign Ordinance workshop yields much to consider

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Quirky and artistic vs cheap and gaudy

By Ada Lang

A well-attended sign ordinance workshop has opened the
process of revamping the city's confusing and barely
enforced sign ordinance.
The comments at the Tuesday gathering included:
“The quirky, artistic signs are what drew me to Cedar
Key”.
“The cute and quirky signs have given way to cheap and
gaudy”.
“Just because people have gotten away with signs that
didn’t get enforced according to the current sign ordinance
doesn’t mean they should be grandfathered in”.
Commissioner Gene Hodges wants to grandfather in all
existing signs, whereas most other commissioners say that
clearly illegal signs should be
dealt with immediately and
possibly removed. Some others
said that some businesses
should be allowed to come
into compliance over time,
depending on the cost of the
signs.
Commissioner Heath Davis proposed that when a business
or building changes hands, then the new business
should comply with the new sign ordinance. He went on to
say that he does not want to see vinyl signs unless they have
time limits for their use.
However, his biggest concern is about lighting and lighted
signs — using the example of how difficult it is coming
back into Cedar Key on the water at night, due to some of the
intense lighting.
Commissioner Scott Dennison said he wants to “strike a
reasonable balance between what has been” and what should
be. He also emphasized the need for the building official to
inspect signs on new businesses for compliance. He also
wants an enforced time limit on temporary signs, particularly
banners.
Commissioner Sue Colson said she wants
to see a user-friendly brochure developed
that business owners can pick up at City Hall
with general information about signs, to
encourage them to ask questions and get
proper permitting before they engage a sign
maker.
The meeting ended with the staff being
directed to take the comments and work
them into a revised version of the sign ordinance
that can be considered. The idea of
having an ordinance that relies more on
graphics than words was well received by
the commission and a revised version should
be available in a few weeks.