Town takes on flash­ing win­dow signs

Richmond Hill Post - - News -

Rich­mond Hill Sign By-law 5209 pro­hibits flash­ing dig­i­tal signs. De­spite mul­ti­ple com­plaints by res­i­dents, there they are in the down­town.

Ac­cord­ing to area coun­cil­lor David West, flash­ing dig­i­tal signs com­pro­mise the area es­thetic.

“The area re­ally needs to be cleaned up. At night the flash­ing lights are not adding to [res­i­dents’] per­cep­tion of a com­mer­cial area that they would want to shop in.… We want the down­town core to be filled with beau­ti­ful store­fronts,” he said.

One of the largest signs is at a plaza right across the street from the Rich­mond Hill Cen­tre for the Per­form­ing Arts (RHCPA).

The vil­lage of Rich­mond Hill Busi­ness Im­prove­ment Area (BIA) chair, Mehrdad Sabouhi, said they have a re­la­tion­ship with the owner. He added that some BIA mem­bers have com­plained that the RHCPA has a flash­ing sign it­self.

Sabouhi, for his part, un­der­stands why large signs change the char­ac­ter of the area

“Hope­fully our next step in a few years would be to have artis­tic, his­tor­i­cal-look­ing signs,” he said, adding that he thinks the cur­rent per­mit process for new frontage from the Town of Rich­mond Hill is too costly for ten­ants.

Both West and John DeVries, di­rec­tor of reg­u­la­tory ser­vices for the Town of Rich­mond Hill, con­sider this to be an “ap­ples and or­anges” ar­gu­ment. In fact, the town has an ex­emp­tion for the RHCPA sign in the by­law.

“The town does not use them [RHCPA] al­ways for com­mer­cial pur­poses. It can put all kinds of pub­lic ser­vice an­nounce­ments on the sign,” said DeVries.

Meet­ings will be get­ting un­der­way soon to make busi­ness own­ers aware of the rules.

“The im­pe­tus was ac­tu­ally one of com­plaint,” said DeVries. “We have re­de­ployed a num­ber of by­law of­fi­cers.”

The next step is to start an in­ven­tory of all the ex­ist­ing signs. Af­ter that, DeVries noted that ac­tions will have to be taken to bring busi­nesses into com­pli­ance.

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