Signage code could get switch
July 10, 2012
For months the Kimball Junction Business Association has been hoping to change the way people passing through see the area, meaning better, clearer signs pointing the way into their business. But before the organization can get to into the nitty-gritty planning stage, county ordinances have to change, a process that’s coming to a head in Summit County Council discussions.
"This has been a discussion for quite some time," said Assistant county Manager Anita Lewis. "Businesses are frustrated that people cannot find them because of the lack of signage."
The current code, adopted in 2004, splits Utah State Road 224, the main artery for traffic passing the junction, so that what may be allowed on one side of the road could be banned on the other, from banners and signs.
Starting with discussions in December, the Summit County Planning Commission has passed a positive recommendation for changes to the signage code and the topic has already become a popular talking point with the council, with a decision expected on the signage codes in the coming weeks.
"If there is a sign announcing a grand opening, now hiring or special sales, businesses could not get a permit," said Jennifer Strader, a county planner. "The council asked us to look into temporary sign provisions, and when the county attorney reviewed the amendments, he indicated our sign code is a content-based sign code. Some people see that as being as unconstitutional. So now we’ve reviewed the entire signage code and made amendments so it’s content neutral."
While political signs may be allowed in yards, other types of content such and now hiring banners or sale signs would not be allowed, accruing fines if owners used the signs.
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"We’re trying to make the standards fair for everyone across the board," Strader said. "Whether it’s an existing development with multiple users or if it’s just a single-use permit on property, the same standards will apply to everyone."
The first draft of the staff report outlining the new code was introduced June 20, but will most likely go through a round of changes before it is finalized. According to the staff report, changes to signage would be in line with the General Plan for the county.
"The code is frustrating on the business end," Lewis said. "Having different sign code restrictions on one side of street and different on other, that has been a point of frustration for a number of years."
The Kimball Junction Business Association is in the process of rebranding Kimball Junction through signage, so changes to what will and will not be allowed could impact the association’s goals in the near future. After receiving a grant from the county a grant intended to rework signage and create a handout map of the area the association’s focus on how to drive more business with clearer directions is at the forefront. But even if signage rules are changed, the association will still face another hurdle: working with the individual shopping centers to create a more unified theme that says "Kimball Junction."