After years of discussion, Turlock Planning Commissioners got a sneak peak at the easier-to-read future of the city’s sign ordinance on Thursday.
The existing sign ordinance has long been derided as difficult to understand. And some signs businesses want, like sign twirlers, aren’t directly addressed by the ordinance, making things difficult for both businesses who want signs and police who must enforce the law.
The new sign ordinance will clear up those problem areas like sign twirlers, temporary signs, and portable A-frame signs in its final form, but Thursday’s rough draft focused mainly on making the law easier to understand.
“Really, it lays out what you can have as a business,” Turlock Planning Manager Debbie Whitmore said.
The ordinance revision, based on Rancho Cucamonga’s sign ordinance, reorganizes previously hard-to-read sign ordinance language into a simple table. Those interested in a sign just have to find the corresponding row and columns to see what is allowable.
The chart talks about the number, size, and location of signs allowed, and even details such as the maximum height of letters.
Currently, finding that information can be difficult. The City of Turlock now issues a “sign program” for each shopping center, governing the rules for signs only in that shopping center.
The City of Turlock’s sign program requirement will likely still remain in place with the revised ordinance. But this more standardized code will allow a business to comply with the law even if a landlord hasn’t completed a sign program.
“What we’re doing is really starting to talk about a base sign ordinance for almost any area that can have a sign,” Whitmore said.
Each different type of development faces different standards in the new ordinance. Residential and institutional signs are generally required to be smaller, for wayfinding purposes, while commercial developments can have more, larger signs.
The exact numbers presented as part of Thursday’s first look at the ordinance, however, will likely be revised.
“There’s probably some tweaking that would have to be done in terms of what the actual numbers are,” Whitmore said.