The Payson Town Council has seen the sign(s) and it has opened up their eyes.
After listening to the dispassionate plea of business owners, the council last weekend agreed to remove several restrictions in its sign ordinance and directed the Design Review Board to take a second look at rules that limit the color and design of portable and temporary signs.
Now, temporary banners, like the ones outside Verizon and Anytime Fitness can be lawfully put in the public right away all month long. And portable signs, like the one in front of Artists of the Rim, can be out seven days a week — a restriction that prohibited them on Tuesdays lifted.
Business owners agreed it was a step in the right direction, but would need to see if the Design Review Board eased up on the look of temporary portable signs before calling it a success.
Currently, temporary signs that are painted a vibrant color are prohibited along with those that are not in a black metal A-frame base.
That means Crafters Cubbies bright yellow wood sign is still not allowed.
For Robert Schmidt, with Crafters Cubbies, that is outrageous. He said that little yellow sign has done more for his business since he put it out than any other form of marketing.
When a town code enforcement officer came by and told him he would have to move the sign back near the store, business instantly dropped off. Schmidt wondered why town employees were so worried about his sign when there are far larger problems to tackle.
John Griffith, with Payson Wireless, said his banner is crucial in attracting new customers and promoting the store’s location. With several other wireless stores in town, any restriction on signs would affect his ability to compete, he told the council.
Mayor Kenny Evans said the council was loosening up restrictions with the approved changes to Ordinance 829 and the Design Review Board would get a chance to tackle the color issue.
The council hinted that if the review board didn’t take any action, it might.
Councilor Su Connell said after the meeting that the council was listening to business owners and would make the necessary changes.
Back in 2007, when the review board developed the criteria for temporary portable signs, concerns about garish colors were important. Now with empty storefronts, promoting and helping businesses is paramount, even if that means a business has a “bright white” sign (currently not allowed).
Councilor Ed Blair said it is important the Design Review Board meet soon to address color concerns because “we are in a crisis here business wise.”