Zoning Practice — April 2009

Ask the Author

Here are reader questions answered by Daniel R. Mandelker, author of the March 2009 Zoning Practice article "Decision Making in Sign Codes."

Question from John Baker, Winter Springs, Florida:

We are trying to strike a defensible balance between tasteful and effective low-key way-finding signage and banning off-site signage (particularly billboards). What key points do you propose for achieving these potentially conflicting objectives? What are some good examples of effective low-key way-finding signage?

Answer from author Daniel Mandelker:

I am not sure what you mean by a low-key way-finding sign. Perhaps you can clarify. If you mean signage for businesses, developments, and attractions, a properly designed and proportioned ground sign is one way of achieving this objective. There are some good examples in the article.

Question from John Lewis, Loveland, Colorado:

Electronic message signs can display a different message every second. Can the regulations be different for electronic signs than for static signs? How so? What are your suggestions about regulating the upgrading of nonconforming and conforming commercial signs from static signs to electronic message signs? What suggestions do you have for enforcing an electronic message sign ordinance in terms of change of copy, copy that describes an off-premise business, light intensity, and special electronic attention grabbers?

Answer from author Daniel Mandelker:

These questions are really outside the scope of my article. Check out the article by Marya Morris, AICP, on digital signs ("Looking Ahead: Regulating Digital Signs and Billboards," April 2008) in Zoning Practice, and attend our session on digital signs at APA's National Planning Conference in Minneapolis. Look for "Regulating Digital Signs and Billboards" Tuesday, April 28, 2009, 2:30-3:45 p.m., in the Minneapolis Convention Center. Room location will be in your program.