Harmonized sign by-law being drafted

News Nov 22, 2006 Flamborough Review

It's a waiting game for stakeholders in the city's new harmonized sign by-law.

Public consultations have closed, and now staff will retreat, comments in hand, to form a draft by-law to present to city council. It's expected to be ready by June or July, according to Dan Mousseau, sign by-law coordinator.

The city has been working for the past several months to create a one-size-fits-all by-law, which can be applied across the city. The process has raised several concerns in the business community, but the Waterdown Business Improvement Area has been pleased with the process.

"It's been fair," said BIA president Margaret Robertson. "I think people may be panicking unnecessarily."

Robertson appreciates the need for a sign by-law, but has some concerns about what final form it will take.

A set of proposals was opened to a final round of public debate last month. Among them are provisions to register and regulate overhead signs, sandwich boards, and signs posted on another business property, all of which are currently in use throughout Waterdown. Robertson's own business, Pause Awhile, may be forced to remove its sign from the corner of Dundas and Main Streets, if the by-law goes through unchanged.

"It's a shame, because I'm off the main road," said Robertson, who hopes to see a grandfather clause added to the by-law.

Under the proposed by-law, signs which cantilever over the sidewalk will be subject to strict approvals, inspections and registration fees, to ensure public safety, she noted. Sandwich boards, which pose a threat to the visually impaired and those in wheelchairs, will also be monitored.

Although the business community is cautiously optimistic about the by-law, the rural community has lobbied for several changes.

According to Hubert Will, owner of Will Farms, Christmas Tree Farmers of Ontario submitted a request to allow temporary signs for farmers.

Currently, there is no provision for temporary rural signs, such as those that appear annually, advertising sweet corn, berries, pick-your-own or Christmas trees.

The association asked the city to allow the continued cost-free use of these temporary signs, because they help boost eco-tourism and agro-tourism, and are necessary for the livelihood of many local farmers. The city's proposal allows for sandwich boards in the rural region, but they are subject to the same regulations and fees as the urban sandwich boards, which can be used year-round.

"I wouldn't want to be applying for a permit every year," said Will. "That's a lot of cost and a lot of bureaucracy."

Robert Pasuta, president of the Hamilton-Wentworth Federation of Agriculture, agrees. Many of his members were disappointed that their boards would require a fee under the current proposal. "They're trying to use city rules in the country, and it doesn't work," he said. "Things work differently out here."

He feels the fee would be one more blow against farmers, who are already struggling to maintain a livelihood. Mousseau has heard all of these comments, and they will all be used to form the draft by-law, he said.

Harmonized sign by-law being drafted

News Nov 22, 2006 Flamborough Review

It's a waiting game for stakeholders in the city's new harmonized sign by-law.

Public consultations have closed, and now staff will retreat, comments in hand, to form a draft by-law to present to city council. It's expected to be ready by June or July, according to Dan Mousseau, sign by-law coordinator.

The city has been working for the past several months to create a one-size-fits-all by-law, which can be applied across the city. The process has raised several concerns in the business community, but the Waterdown Business Improvement Area has been pleased with the process.

"It's been fair," said BIA president Margaret Robertson. "I think people may be panicking unnecessarily."

Robertson appreciates the need for a sign by-law, but has some concerns about what final form it will take.

A set of proposals was opened to a final round of public debate last month. Among them are provisions to register and regulate overhead signs, sandwich boards, and signs posted on another business property, all of which are currently in use throughout Waterdown. Robertson's own business, Pause Awhile, may be forced to remove its sign from the corner of Dundas and Main Streets, if the by-law goes through unchanged.

"It's a shame, because I'm off the main road," said Robertson, who hopes to see a grandfather clause added to the by-law.

Under the proposed by-law, signs which cantilever over the sidewalk will be subject to strict approvals, inspections and registration fees, to ensure public safety, she noted. Sandwich boards, which pose a threat to the visually impaired and those in wheelchairs, will also be monitored.

Although the business community is cautiously optimistic about the by-law, the rural community has lobbied for several changes.

According to Hubert Will, owner of Will Farms, Christmas Tree Farmers of Ontario submitted a request to allow temporary signs for farmers.

Currently, there is no provision for temporary rural signs, such as those that appear annually, advertising sweet corn, berries, pick-your-own or Christmas trees.

The association asked the city to allow the continued cost-free use of these temporary signs, because they help boost eco-tourism and agro-tourism, and are necessary for the livelihood of many local farmers. The city's proposal allows for sandwich boards in the rural region, but they are subject to the same regulations and fees as the urban sandwich boards, which can be used year-round.

"I wouldn't want to be applying for a permit every year," said Will. "That's a lot of cost and a lot of bureaucracy."

Robert Pasuta, president of the Hamilton-Wentworth Federation of Agriculture, agrees. Many of his members were disappointed that their boards would require a fee under the current proposal. "They're trying to use city rules in the country, and it doesn't work," he said. "Things work differently out here."

He feels the fee would be one more blow against farmers, who are already struggling to maintain a livelihood. Mousseau has heard all of these comments, and they will all be used to form the draft by-law, he said.

Harmonized sign by-law being drafted

News Nov 22, 2006 Flamborough Review

It's a waiting game for stakeholders in the city's new harmonized sign by-law.

Public consultations have closed, and now staff will retreat, comments in hand, to form a draft by-law to present to city council. It's expected to be ready by June or July, according to Dan Mousseau, sign by-law coordinator.

The city has been working for the past several months to create a one-size-fits-all by-law, which can be applied across the city. The process has raised several concerns in the business community, but the Waterdown Business Improvement Area has been pleased with the process.

"It's been fair," said BIA president Margaret Robertson. "I think people may be panicking unnecessarily."

Robertson appreciates the need for a sign by-law, but has some concerns about what final form it will take.

A set of proposals was opened to a final round of public debate last month. Among them are provisions to register and regulate overhead signs, sandwich boards, and signs posted on another business property, all of which are currently in use throughout Waterdown. Robertson's own business, Pause Awhile, may be forced to remove its sign from the corner of Dundas and Main Streets, if the by-law goes through unchanged.

"It's a shame, because I'm off the main road," said Robertson, who hopes to see a grandfather clause added to the by-law.

Under the proposed by-law, signs which cantilever over the sidewalk will be subject to strict approvals, inspections and registration fees, to ensure public safety, she noted. Sandwich boards, which pose a threat to the visually impaired and those in wheelchairs, will also be monitored.

Although the business community is cautiously optimistic about the by-law, the rural community has lobbied for several changes.

According to Hubert Will, owner of Will Farms, Christmas Tree Farmers of Ontario submitted a request to allow temporary signs for farmers.

Currently, there is no provision for temporary rural signs, such as those that appear annually, advertising sweet corn, berries, pick-your-own or Christmas trees.

The association asked the city to allow the continued cost-free use of these temporary signs, because they help boost eco-tourism and agro-tourism, and are necessary for the livelihood of many local farmers. The city's proposal allows for sandwich boards in the rural region, but they are subject to the same regulations and fees as the urban sandwich boards, which can be used year-round.

"I wouldn't want to be applying for a permit every year," said Will. "That's a lot of cost and a lot of bureaucracy."

Robert Pasuta, president of the Hamilton-Wentworth Federation of Agriculture, agrees. Many of his members were disappointed that their boards would require a fee under the current proposal. "They're trying to use city rules in the country, and it doesn't work," he said. "Things work differently out here."

He feels the fee would be one more blow against farmers, who are already struggling to maintain a livelihood. Mousseau has heard all of these comments, and they will all be used to form the draft by-law, he said.