Phase-out of portable signs urged in Kelowna
Proposed overhaul of city bylaw would see portable signs banned by 2019, height of all roadside signs reduced
Portable signs could be on their way out in Kelowna. The movable signs — garish to some and informative to others — would be banned after Jan. 1, 2019, under a proposal going to city council on Monday.
As well, the maximum height of all new roadside signs would be significantly lowered, from eight metres to five metres, in a bid to make the city uniquely pretty.
“The draft bylaw takes a strong stand on signage size, placing Kelowna firmly in the category of leader in reducing signage size in the region,” reads part of a report from the planning department.
“By substantially reducing free-standing sign sizes, Kelowna may set itself apart and begin to distinguish itself stylistically,” the report says.
Another staff suggestion is to ban electronic signs, except for use by cultural, recreational and institutional organizations for the purposes of public information.
A major proposed overhaul of the city’s sign bylaw has been in the works for more than a year.
Through a consultation process, about 600 surveys were filled out, but staff acknowledge the responses cannot be said to be a statistically valid snapshot of public opinion.
Still, the report says 40 per cent of respondents believe Kelowna has the same amount of signage as other cities.
Of the survey respondents, about 40 per cent wanted less signage, while 36 per cent said the existing amount of signage is fine. About 20 per cent wanted more signage.
Regarding portable signs, the planning department says they are a “significant” contribution to urban clutter and detract from the high-quality buildings the city tries to encourage in new developments.
The staff proposal is to limit portable signs to commercial, public and institutional zones effective Jan. 1, 2018, restricting them to major corridors on June 1, 2018, and banning them completely the following January.
Fees for portable signs before the ban takes effect would also be increased significantly, from $30 up to, possibly, $200, the same as is charged in Kamloops and Nanaimo.
Revenue from the increased portable sign fee would help pay for a new bylaw officer, who would be tasked primarily with enforcing the restrictions.
Portable signs such as these could be banned under a proposed major overhaul of Kelowna’s sign bylaw.