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.

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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