Wednesday, April 6, 2016

WDT: Sign Law Criticized (Again)

      An interesting editorial to a common issue when you have rules (ordinances in a city context).
      They create hard to explain and unintended consequences. Opinion leaders are mad the new Goodyear store proposed for Arsenal Street is facing arbitrary limitations on signage on a street where standing out in a crowd isn't easy.
      We have all had to deal with constituents who pose no threat to the common good but run afoul of an ordinance seeking to regulate all issues uniformally. Signs, front yard parking, fences,  zoning passed decades ago in a different world.
      Just try to get one repealed, and the threshold for a variance is too high a hurdle
      Now is enforcement inconsistent ? Yes it is. 
      But the rule of law, it is argued, must prevail, lest we descend into chaos.
      Sometimes things change quickly like the street off State Street made one way without debate even though just one person requested it.
       But repealing a sign law. Don't hold your breath.
         http://www.watertowndailytimes.com/opinion/a-sign-of-privilege-watertown-officials-seek-workaround-to-a-zoning-ordinance-20160406

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

I'm no city attorney, but I don't see why a sign on the Arena would be subject to city ordinance, no matter if they sold the naming rights. Just like the commercial signs on the interstate that the DOT rents out. The ones that are continued as you get off the exits.

One problem is that most of the laws are made up and enacted by the people who show up and the people who show up are more likely to be vocal minority anti Dollar General types, rather than types truly representing the views of the average resident. And that's the way we like it and that is why we don't elect ZBA's and planning boards. Instead we appoint them and then say our hands are tied.

I find it amazing that sign laws have been one of the core zoning issues in most communities and those laws are upheld because "signs are ugly." Yet we can't pass similar laws against windmills? Why not? We should be able to limit windmills to 200 square feet, 50 foot height and one per property, based on the opinion that windmills are ugly.

Anonymous said...

Signs, front yard parking, fences, zoning passed decades ago in a different world.
Yes, the city tried it's best to regulate this town into something to be proud of, something presentable.
Now, all of these things get pushed to the side for one reason or another and we are the worse for it. Houses look like crap, once beautiful front yards are mud pits, beautiful homes cut into apartments without meeting any sort of code requirements.

There are reasons that cities pass regulations and it is for the greater good, to keep the city from turning into a hillbilly junkyard. Unfortunately we have past leadership that has allowed violators free reign.
Thank goodness that ended in January.