Surprise Sign Ordinance Update Feb. 7, 2018

Surprise City Hall

Last night the @AZSurprise City of Surprise City Council met to discuss and possibly approve the Updated Draft Sign Ordinance. Rather than take a final vote on the Proposed Sign Ordinance, the Council decided to postpone a final decision until March 6, 2018.

There were several items discussed. One of the biggest issues discussed was Billboards. Currently, Surprise does not allow billboard advertising. In the Proposed Sign Ordinance there is an allowance for a few billboards to be placed at three different locations; a small portion of the 303 near El Mirage Rd., along Grand Ave. between Bell and Reems, and a small section north of 163rd. Ave on Grand Ave.

Discussion revolved around messaging, look and location of billboard advertising. If you or one of your clients wishes to use billboard advertising in Surprise, contact the City of Surprise Planning Department, the Mayor or your City Council representative.

WeMAR made two suggested changes. Each suggested change has been discussed by us before and will be considered at the March 6th City Council meeting. Below are WeMAR’s comments to the City Council last night:

WeMAR appreciates the work City Staff has done over the past few years in order to update the City Sign Ordinance. Overall, we are pleased with the Proposed Draft Sign Ordinance. We do have two concerns:

1 – Page 43, Section 113-09 A3, Class II Temporary Signs: We suggest the City Council include the following language previously suggested by staff:
“Properties zoned for commercial uses may utilize one (1) Class II Temporary sign per 200 linear feet of street frontage. Said signs may be placed adjacent to, but not within any right-of-way, median, vehicle or bicycle travel lane, or sidewalk, or within any sight visibility triangle as outlined in Standard Details 4-01 and 4-02 of the Surprise Engineering Development Standards.”
We believe this additional language will help to address the much discussed, and of great concern, problem of small businesses located in unseen areas of existing commercial centers with little or no visibility to the street and/or parking areas, as well as businesses with no access to monument signage.

2 – Page 85, Section 113-16 B2: This item requires a business with a functioning, intact, performing sign to remove that sign for no other reason than that it has been standing over 20 years. We see no compelling government interest in requiring signage in good repair to be taken down. In addition, we are concerned this would be a government taking without compensation to the property owner. We request this item be deleted.

We were pleased to read and appreciate the new wording in the Intent & Purpose section. We appreciate the City being concerned with adequate, visible and legible signage.

We appreciate the increased types of signage and the encouragement to business.

I would like to thank staff for being interested in feedback and balancing the needs and wants of so many constituencies, particularly Mr. Kuhfuss who has been thoughtful, inquisitive and informative throughout the process.

I would also like to thank Mr. Kuhfuss and Mr. Fitzer for being accessible and patient. This has been a monumental task, and they have done a fine job indeed. We thank them and you for your time and interest.