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Local Sign Ordinances Need To Be Developed In Concert With Business Needs

The Town of Carmel is looking to enact a new sign ordinance, which potentially threatens efforts to improve the local economy and may hamper the conducting of business in the area. While in theory a sign ordinance is a good idea, it should be done in conjunction of a larger vision and plan for the Commerce districts. The Chambers, business owners and residents of the community have been asking for revitalization for a long time and a sign ordinance at this stage of the game could be counterproductive to the overall business climate.

No one wants to have signs strewn all over town in a haphazard manner. At the same time, the various signage options available to business allow their message to be clearly shared with the public and, as often is the case in our crowded shopping plazas, make it easier for people to safely find the store or office that they are looking for. So it’s important to strike a balance between aesthetics and utility. In our opinion, some of the features of the planned ordinance do not accomplish this goal. For example, the language asking for signs to be “muted in Earth tones” runs counter to why a business needs a sign. Signs need to be highly visible and easy to read, not “muted”. In the case of sandwich boards, they should be allowed 10′ from the shoulder on private property. The new code would ban them altogether. The new fees to hang banners also appear high and restrictive to our not-for-profit organizations. It is imperative that the groups most affected by the proposed sign ordinance are given input into its design and implementation.

Let’s work together to ensure that such an error doesn’t happen in Carmel as it has in other Towns.

– Jennifer Maher, Chairwoman, the Putnam County Chambers of Commerce

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