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City fine-tuning Main Street sign requirements

Feb 7, 2014 - By Alejandra Silva, Staff Writer

Existing signs will not be affected by the changes.

Business and property owners on Main Street will have to double check with city code before placing a sign in front of their property.

The Riverton City Council approved on first reading an ordinance amending an existing code that has changed how far a sign can extend.

Community development director Sandy Luers on Tuesday told the council about concerns discussed with the city's planning commission. Existing language in the signage code could allow signs to intrude on Main Street Improvement lighting fixtures or detract from the appearance of the street.

Luers said the adjustment would help "maintain control over the appearance" of signage on Main Street.

Two more readings of the ordinance are required.

She added that there was some discussion about including exact sign dimensions in the ordinance, but because there are no standard dimensions from buildings to the light fixtures or from the curb lines to the light fixtures, any specific sign dimensions couldn't be applied uniformly.

This ordinance does not affect signs already in place on Main Street. Several signs already would violate the current code, Luers said, but they were put there many years back and will be allowed to remain. If businesses decided to change their signs, they would have to follow the new code, she added.

This ordinance would only apply on Main Street between Federal Boulevard and 2nd Street West.

"I can understand the plight of the business owner who owns store frontage and has invested hundreds of thousands of dollars to have it there," council member Richard Gard said. "To revitalize Main Street we need to be real careful and be open to their suggestions."

The ordinance does not include hand-carried and temporary signs.

"We want those businesses to be successful on Main Street and to thrive and not struggle," Gard said. "And a big part of that is our signage."

The amendment reads: "No portion of a sign or canopy shall extend into (encroach) the right-of-way closer than the nearest edge of a street luminaire (street light) as measured from the property line, or, if between luminaries, then not closer than the nearest edge of the imaginary line between the two luminaires."

The council and mayor suggested property and business owners attend council meetings for the next two readings of the ordinance and contribute any feedback.

"In an effort to get business there, if there are no rules or guidelines or anything, you may put up a sign that the entire community has to live with for the next 20 years," Mayor Ron Warpness said.

"We've got a beautiful Main Street now... we want to be sensitive to the needs of our businesses and their advertising."

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Riverton City Council