Updated by-law will harmonize sign usage throughout the city

News Nov 22, 2006 Flamborough Review

Hamilton politicians applauded a series of proposals that will eliminate billboards from downtown Hamilton and crack down on the proliferation of multi-coloured mobile signs.

"We want to make (these proposals) work," said Stoney Creek councillor Maria Pearson.

Added Hamilton councillor Brian McHattie, who represents billboard-filled Ward 1, "It's disappointing to me we will have to look at these billboards because they will stay in place."

Highlights of the proposals, introduced to the planning and economic committee by Martin Rendl of Martin Rendl Associates, a consulting firm that conducted the public meetings across the city this year, include:

banning mobile signs in the downtown;

eliminating coloured mobile signs, and replacing them with black or white lettering;

permitting mobile signs, but only with a $50 permit, and a name and telephone number attached to the sign;

eliminating third-party signs;

city property is exempt from the bylaw;

allowing posters only on city poster sleeves or community kiosks;

restricting A-frame signs on residential sidewalks;

allowing election signs only on private property;

allowing billboards only on commercial or industrial land;

any existing legally erected signs will be grandfathered;

the city hire two new sign inspectors; and

licensing portable sign companies.

"You can't ban (the signs)," said Tom Redmond, director of building and licensing. "But you can regulate them."

Redmond pointed out the former City of Stoney Creek attempted to ban mobile signs, but found out under the Municipal Act it could only regulate them.

Rendl and Redmond cautioned politicians they are moving deliberately in crafting the bylaw. Even though large sign owners know the city is undergoing its review, they expect, once the bylaw is approved, someone will take legal action against it.

"We are looking at the legal aspect that is defensible in court," said Redmond.

The proposals were developed from seven public meetings that were held throughout the community during the summer. Between 200 and 300 people attended the meetings, said Rendl.

The number one complaint residents raised at the meetings was the proliferation of fluorescent portable signs. The other problem residents highlighted was the lack of city enforcement to stop the increasing number of illegal signs.

Another series of public meetings will be held beginning early next year allowing residents the opportunity to comment on the proposals, said Rendl. A final report will be presented to councillors and a draft bylaw will be created. Another public meeting will be held on the draft bylaw before it is debated by councillors.

Rendl said if the proposals were approved today, the average resident would see a transformation of Upper James Street, which is now littered with multi-coloured portable signs.

"You would see less orange, green and yellow, it would be cleaner and less cluttered," he said. "We tried to provide a balance between the public and recognize the needs of businesses."

But Jim Lamond, co-owner of Magnetsigns in Stoney Creek, said if the city passes the stricter sign bylaws, he would lose about 90 per cent of his business.

"This is a knee-jerk reaction," said Lamond, who purchased the company a year ago. "To not be able to use colour would be unfair. You are taking away our opportunities."

The next step in the process, said Rendl, will be to establish sign regulations in the rural areas, including eliminating the use of tractor-trailers or cars as signs.

The city is attempting to harmonize the current 13 sign bylaws that are in place in the former six municipalities prior to amalgamation.

Rendl said most of the proposals being made are already enforced in some of the former suburban areas. Other sign bylaws, though, have never been changed and date back to 1950.

Updated by-law will harmonize sign usage throughout the city

News Nov 22, 2006 Flamborough Review

Hamilton politicians applauded a series of proposals that will eliminate billboards from downtown Hamilton and crack down on the proliferation of multi-coloured mobile signs.

"We want to make (these proposals) work," said Stoney Creek councillor Maria Pearson.

Added Hamilton councillor Brian McHattie, who represents billboard-filled Ward 1, "It's disappointing to me we will have to look at these billboards because they will stay in place."

Highlights of the proposals, introduced to the planning and economic committee by Martin Rendl of Martin Rendl Associates, a consulting firm that conducted the public meetings across the city this year, include:

banning mobile signs in the downtown;

eliminating coloured mobile signs, and replacing them with black or white lettering;

permitting mobile signs, but only with a $50 permit, and a name and telephone number attached to the sign;

eliminating third-party signs;

city property is exempt from the bylaw;

allowing posters only on city poster sleeves or community kiosks;

restricting A-frame signs on residential sidewalks;

allowing election signs only on private property;

allowing billboards only on commercial or industrial land;

any existing legally erected signs will be grandfathered;

the city hire two new sign inspectors; and

licensing portable sign companies.

"You can't ban (the signs)," said Tom Redmond, director of building and licensing. "But you can regulate them."

Redmond pointed out the former City of Stoney Creek attempted to ban mobile signs, but found out under the Municipal Act it could only regulate them.

Rendl and Redmond cautioned politicians they are moving deliberately in crafting the bylaw. Even though large sign owners know the city is undergoing its review, they expect, once the bylaw is approved, someone will take legal action against it.

"We are looking at the legal aspect that is defensible in court," said Redmond.

The proposals were developed from seven public meetings that were held throughout the community during the summer. Between 200 and 300 people attended the meetings, said Rendl.

The number one complaint residents raised at the meetings was the proliferation of fluorescent portable signs. The other problem residents highlighted was the lack of city enforcement to stop the increasing number of illegal signs.

Another series of public meetings will be held beginning early next year allowing residents the opportunity to comment on the proposals, said Rendl. A final report will be presented to councillors and a draft bylaw will be created. Another public meeting will be held on the draft bylaw before it is debated by councillors.

Rendl said if the proposals were approved today, the average resident would see a transformation of Upper James Street, which is now littered with multi-coloured portable signs.

"You would see less orange, green and yellow, it would be cleaner and less cluttered," he said. "We tried to provide a balance between the public and recognize the needs of businesses."

But Jim Lamond, co-owner of Magnetsigns in Stoney Creek, said if the city passes the stricter sign bylaws, he would lose about 90 per cent of his business.

"This is a knee-jerk reaction," said Lamond, who purchased the company a year ago. "To not be able to use colour would be unfair. You are taking away our opportunities."

The next step in the process, said Rendl, will be to establish sign regulations in the rural areas, including eliminating the use of tractor-trailers or cars as signs.

The city is attempting to harmonize the current 13 sign bylaws that are in place in the former six municipalities prior to amalgamation.

Rendl said most of the proposals being made are already enforced in some of the former suburban areas. Other sign bylaws, though, have never been changed and date back to 1950.

Updated by-law will harmonize sign usage throughout the city

News Nov 22, 2006 Flamborough Review

Hamilton politicians applauded a series of proposals that will eliminate billboards from downtown Hamilton and crack down on the proliferation of multi-coloured mobile signs.

"We want to make (these proposals) work," said Stoney Creek councillor Maria Pearson.

Added Hamilton councillor Brian McHattie, who represents billboard-filled Ward 1, "It's disappointing to me we will have to look at these billboards because they will stay in place."

Highlights of the proposals, introduced to the planning and economic committee by Martin Rendl of Martin Rendl Associates, a consulting firm that conducted the public meetings across the city this year, include:

banning mobile signs in the downtown;

eliminating coloured mobile signs, and replacing them with black or white lettering;

permitting mobile signs, but only with a $50 permit, and a name and telephone number attached to the sign;

eliminating third-party signs;

city property is exempt from the bylaw;

allowing posters only on city poster sleeves or community kiosks;

restricting A-frame signs on residential sidewalks;

allowing election signs only on private property;

allowing billboards only on commercial or industrial land;

any existing legally erected signs will be grandfathered;

the city hire two new sign inspectors; and

licensing portable sign companies.

"You can't ban (the signs)," said Tom Redmond, director of building and licensing. "But you can regulate them."

Redmond pointed out the former City of Stoney Creek attempted to ban mobile signs, but found out under the Municipal Act it could only regulate them.

Rendl and Redmond cautioned politicians they are moving deliberately in crafting the bylaw. Even though large sign owners know the city is undergoing its review, they expect, once the bylaw is approved, someone will take legal action against it.

"We are looking at the legal aspect that is defensible in court," said Redmond.

The proposals were developed from seven public meetings that were held throughout the community during the summer. Between 200 and 300 people attended the meetings, said Rendl.

The number one complaint residents raised at the meetings was the proliferation of fluorescent portable signs. The other problem residents highlighted was the lack of city enforcement to stop the increasing number of illegal signs.

Another series of public meetings will be held beginning early next year allowing residents the opportunity to comment on the proposals, said Rendl. A final report will be presented to councillors and a draft bylaw will be created. Another public meeting will be held on the draft bylaw before it is debated by councillors.

Rendl said if the proposals were approved today, the average resident would see a transformation of Upper James Street, which is now littered with multi-coloured portable signs.

"You would see less orange, green and yellow, it would be cleaner and less cluttered," he said. "We tried to provide a balance between the public and recognize the needs of businesses."

But Jim Lamond, co-owner of Magnetsigns in Stoney Creek, said if the city passes the stricter sign bylaws, he would lose about 90 per cent of his business.

"This is a knee-jerk reaction," said Lamond, who purchased the company a year ago. "To not be able to use colour would be unfair. You are taking away our opportunities."

The next step in the process, said Rendl, will be to establish sign regulations in the rural areas, including eliminating the use of tractor-trailers or cars as signs.

The city is attempting to harmonize the current 13 sign bylaws that are in place in the former six municipalities prior to amalgamation.

Rendl said most of the proposals being made are already enforced in some of the former suburban areas. Other sign bylaws, though, have never been changed and date back to 1950.