A yearlong discussion to relax Queen Creek's sign ordinance is expected to reach a conclusion Wednesday night, with the Town Council voting on modifications that would allow grand opening banners to hang for a month longer than the current 60-day restriction.
However, new regulations would not allow special-event banners or A-frame signs in the public right of way. The town's Chamber of Commerce supported changing the ordinance to allow both types of signs.
The council, in an effort to help businesses advertise in a tough economy, first discussed relaxing its sign ordinance at a council retreat in February 2009.
The topic has come up at meetings periodically since then, with subsequent discussions focusing on the effectiveness of having signs out on the street versus the aesthetic appeal of limiting signs in town.
In the end, the Planning and Zoning Commission opted to recommend changing the length of time grand opening banners are allowed. It also suggests making the size of banners dependent on the size of the business. That way, larger buildings will be able to hang larger signs.
The commission also added regulations addressing sign-walkers, people wearing costumes or holding signs near the streets advertising a business. Under the recommendations, sign-walkers could only be used when a business is open and they would have limits on the size of the signs they can carry. There are also regulations on where the sign-walkers can be in relation to a business.
One commission member voted against the recommendation, saying A-frame signs should be allowed, but most of the commission thought they would clutter the street and create enforcement issues, said Wayne Balmer, town planning manager.
"They philosophically thought it wasn't the image they wanted to project," he said.
Queen Creek Chamber President Rustyn Sherer has said he would still like the council to allow A-frame and special-event signs in the revised ordinance. Sherer couldn't be reached for comment on Tuesday.
Queen Creek isn't the only East Valley municipality that has examined relaxing its sign ordinance because of the economy. Chandler temporarily relaxed its sign ordinance in October to allow for more temporary signs, although those provisions expire next June.
The Gilbert Chamber of Commerce also sent a letter to its Town Council last month asking Gilbert to increase the number of A-frame signs each business is allowed. The chamber also wants the town to permit flying banners, among other changes.