City temporarily eases A-frame sign regulations outside DDA

By: Robert Guttersohn | Royal Oak Review | Published November 26, 2013

CLAWSON — The City Council Nov. 19 directed the administration to provide temporary relief through the holiday season and suspend the portion of the sign ordinance that bans A-frame signs for businesses outside the Downtown Development Authority.

The ordinance holiday will be from Nov. 22-Jan. 1.

Mayor Penny Luebs, who introduced the idea, said she met with several business leaders who requested the relief.

“I think that’s one step we can take toward our philosophy of being business-friendly,” Luebs said.

Luebs said it would be especially helpful with Small Business Saturday Nov. 30.

She said business leaders outside the DDA say the lax signage rules downtown give businesses there an advantage.

“They’d like to see the same opportunity throughout Clawson,” Luebs said.

City Manager Mark Pollock agreed.

“It would be a good test case to see how some of the A-frame signage would go, how it would look and to work with the entire business community and allow them the opportunity to advertise their business, basically, because it is difficult for them,” Pollock said.

Pollock added that many businesses outside the DDA admit to already putting A-frame signs out over the weekend when there is no city code enforcement on patrol.

“And they admitted that it helps their businesses tremendously to have that opportunity,” Pollock said. “I don’t see it as being a big issue.”

City Attorney Jon Kingsepp said there are concerns with allowing every business to have A-frame signs. He encouraged the City Council to direct the administration to develop guidelines for the ordinance relief time period that would regulate the size of the sign and the font of the advertisement.

“In the resolution, let the administration be aware of what some of the risks are so we can at least advise the property owner on what to be aware of,” Kingsepp said.

Councilman Jim Horton said the placement of the signs should also be regulated.

“Certainly, whoever puts out the signs should also be understanding that they need to be put in a place where they can’t interfere,” Horton said.

Kingsepp said the city likely will want to hear feedback from the businesses and the administration on how well the temporary relief goes.

“That will merely enhance and better the project when you do it again,” Kingsepp said.