City Looking to Adjust Sign Codes

Historic signs could be saved while non-conforming signs face an uphill battle not to be demolished.

Codes and regulations for historic signs, conforming signs, non-conforming signs, electronic signs and even humans holding signs in St. Petersburg could soon be changing. 

On Thursday City Council will consider changes to the codes that would dictate certain construction, demolition and replacement of all types of signs throughout St. Petersburg. 

Wednesday night, Philip Lazzara, from the city's planning and economic development, made a presentation about the proposed changes to the Council of Neighborhood Associations. 

"This process was initiated by city council," Lazzara said of the sign ordinance changes. "They wanted to take a fresh look at what the code currently allows or doesn’t allow."

Lazzara said the changes would make a more streamlined process for the demolishment of abandoned non-conforming signs. There will be exceptions for "historic signs", Lazzara said. 

"Council seems to be of the opinion that non-conforming should be dealt with on a more efficient basis," he said. "There is a desire to provide some protection for (historic) signs that really capture a certain development period in the city’s history. These signs depict, are representative of a way of making signs that is really not common today."

Examples of historic signs include the Kress Building, World Liquors, Banyan Motel, El Cap, Sunken Gardens and the old downtown YMCA

The proposed changes would allow historic signs to have "chasing" and "flashing" lights that are not otherwise allowed on any other city signs. Historic signs that are beyond repair, Lazzara said, could also be eligible for replacement with a similar sign that would follow the historic sign codes. 

The city is proposing to allow the Community Preservation Commission to establish an inventory of historic signs.

Stricter rules for "Human Signs", what Patch blogger Peter Schorsch calls the  are also being proposed. 

Currently there are no restrictions in the city code for human signs, which are defined as "signs held by the hand of a person and not attached to any pole or other objects affixed to the ground."

Proposed regulations include limiting human signs for one per property, can only operate during business hours, must be on the private property of the business or on the immediate adjacent public right-of-way.

More regulations will be discussed Thursday about 3-D signs, which are currently not allowed in the city, abandoned signs, flags, large facility signs and many more. The public hearing for this item is set for 6 p.m. Thursday at City Hall.  

On Sept. 5, the Development Review Commission passed the proposed changes unanimously, 7-0.

cherylwithac October 18, 2012 at 02:25 PM
People who work as Human Signs are at least members of the workforce. But then again, the City Council only thinks of "image, image, image." How will the city look to the tourists and millionaires (if by chance they happen to stray from downtown)? That seems to be the only concern of the City Council.
LecaShoreAcres October 18, 2012 at 03:25 PM
I completely disagree with the poster above. Many of the sign guys who sit at the intersections around 38th and 4th and 40th and 1st actually shove the sign in front of your window as you pass. They have literally blocked my windshield one more than one occasion. They are a complete nuisance but besides being a nuisance they are also dangerous and have zero respect for the drivers on those two intersections. I would not be opposed to getting them removed. I am having the city wants to protect the vintage signage however.
Catherine October 18, 2012 at 03:37 PM
As if the city council doesn't have enough issues of greater importance upon which to focus, they've now shifted to signs; puuulease. I LOVE historic signs or anything of our cities history. Just keep these items cleaned up and in good shape and they'll fit in just fine. Regarding humans holding signs, as long as they don't - as is mentioned above - block windshields or cause any other dangerous disorder, they're people finally employed - KEEP 'EM. Fine those who break the law with the signs and let the others remain.
Rider October 18, 2012 at 03:52 PM
Are they going to film the next sequel to the movie, "Footloose" here in St Pete? What a bunch of stiff people on council and around. These signs and the people advertising outside of a business are great. They add spice to this place, it's a great part of living in the city. You want conformity and control? The suburbs would love to have you. My gosh, this place needs to relax.
sparky October 18, 2012 at 04:54 PM
Maybe they can do something about the blight of Tim's Barber Shop in the 2500 block of MLK North. It looks like the circus came to town and left Tim. The guy must be paranoid that you will miss his Big Top shop with 4 open signs and two open flags, two american flags a price sign in the window two lighted barber poles, a painted sign on a post and a large lighted and neon sign. Then there is the big top in red white and blue that lights up at night. And than does not inlcude the sides or back of the building!!!!
cherylwithac October 18, 2012 at 06:08 PM
to LecaShoreAcres, I'm not advocating that Human Signs operate in an unsafe fashion. All I'm saying is that the City Council doesn't think of the people holding the signs as members of the workplace. I've never had any one of them shove a sign in front of my windshield, but that kind of behavior can be prohibited without eliminating the jobs of Human Signs. P.S. Because you live in Shore Acres, you don't have any businesses in your neighborhood at all. Maybe you can be more thoughtful of the people known as Human Signs by the insensitive City Council.
cherylwithac October 18, 2012 at 06:10 PM
I've never seen Tim's Barber Shop, but it sounds like a fascinating place to me! If you don't like living in a real city, why don't you move to The Villages or some other Disney-World like place?
cherylwithac October 18, 2012 at 06:12 PM
Rider, yes, yes, yes. It seems that the City Council wants to turn St. Petersburg into something Disneyfied. Why don't the members of City Council just resign and apply for jobs at Disney World, where their obsession about image will be encouraged? THE PEOPLE OF ST. PETERSBURG DO NOT WANT TO BE MICROMANAGED AND IGNORED, AS PER THE LENS.
cherylwithac October 18, 2012 at 07:55 PM
Also--WHO WILL DEFINE "HISTORIC SIGN"??? It seems to me that "historic" is in the eye of the beholder. Doesn't the City Council have anything better to do than try to un-city St. Petersburg??? It's not Disney World, for heaven's sake.
Red October 18, 2012 at 10:13 PM
During tax time, eating times, tight money times I see these people putting in their time in HOT suits, standing in full sun, holding heavy signs, making what must be short money . .. .... but making money. Doing a job, not by far a great job , but a job, earning rent money, food money. And it doesn't "look" good (?)! !! !!! For doing what they do, how they have to do it well they look damn beautiful to me.
Mark E. Talboom, D.C. October 18, 2012 at 11:41 PM
I travel up & down 4 St all the time. I shop at Publix & CVS on 38th and have never had any problem with one of these advertisers "shoving" a sign toward my car. If the mote in thy eye offends thee, maybe you should take a different route in getting to where you want to go. I'm glad to see these people employed and stimulating and propping up the economy instead of being on welfare or a bum on the street. It sounds to me that some who are already employed find this type of advertising visually offensive. I see little difference between sign wavers and flashing permanent signage. If someone is such a poor driver that they are going to be distracted, maybe they shouldn't be on the road. If someone was shoving a sign off the curb into a drivers vision, the driver should have called a cop instead of whining in this forum. tsk!
cherylwithac October 19, 2012 at 12:40 AM
I doubt that a resident of Flood Acres (er, sorry, Shore Acres) ever has to worry about paying the "rent" or buying food. Shame on you LecaShoreAcres, for failing to demonstrate any kindness toward the "little guy" who at least is employed and trying to take care of himself.
cherylwithac October 19, 2012 at 12:44 AM
Extremely well stated, Red! Let the City Council take notice.
Gwen Thomas October 19, 2012 at 10:29 PM
St Petersburg has been able to retain some of its historical charm by not looking like 'cookie cutter' Orlando. It could be another waste of tax payer money to enforce silly sign codes to what is already here in place. In fact, little neighborhoods around town that are unique with patina are attracting new business. So leave things alone city counsel!
cherylwithac October 19, 2012 at 10:50 PM
Gwen, I totally agree with what you've said! There is something wrong with the City Council when they try to make our city like Disney World!!! That's a fake representation of life. Why would we want to represent Disney World in St. Petersburg??? The only reason would be to appeal more and more to tourists and millionaires, not the people who actually LIVE HERE, the people about whom the City Council disregards and disrespects as in the LENS project.
cherylwithac October 19, 2012 at 11:00 PM
P.S. I think that Florida is unsalvagable in so many ways that it's only fit as a short-term tourist destination. Buyers Beware!!!
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