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Publication Date: Friday, April 27, 2001

Council's amendment to downtown plan standardizes signage rules Council's amendment to downtown plan standardizes signage rules (April 27, 2001)

By Justin Scheck

The city council Tuesday approved a resolution that will allow the city to enforce restrictions on the type and size of signs allowed throughout the city.

According to Mike Percy, Mountain View's principal planner, the council's action will turn long-standing downtown guidelines into enforceable laws. This also marks the first time the city has laid down a consistent, city-wide plan dictating appropriate signage.

The new regulations will have the greatest effect on businesses with window signs, Percy said, explaining that about 40 percent of downtown businesses have signs that, for one reason or another, do not conform to city zoning standards.

The downtown standards require window signs to take up no more than 25 percent of a storefront window. Other than framed menus or pre-approved community event notices, signs may not be made of paper. Neon signs will be allowed, but only if their electrical wiring is concealed.

Businesses with non-conforming signs that have received city approval in prior years will have five years to come into compliance, Percy said, while businesses with non-conforming signs that have not been approved will have to remove theirs.

But, Percy added, "90 percent" of these non-conforming signs are paper, so there will be little cost to businesses.

"We've worked on the sign ordinance for so long now," said Council member Rosemary Stasek. "It means that now there is going to be enforcement."

Stasek said she was particularly pleased that the new rules will set standards across the city, rather than focusing solely on the downtown.

The signage standards for areas outside the downtown vary according to zoning designations.

Percy said the new rules will go into effect 60 days from Tuesday's meeting, giving businesses two months to come into compliance.


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