Sign ordinance gets Naples public hearing in April

 

AN EYE-CATCHING SIGN that blends with the lakeside environment of the Naples Causeway and Village District. The Town of Naples has drafted a new Sign Ordinance, which will likely be scheduled for a public hearing in April. (De Busk Photo)

By Dawn De Busk

Staff Writer

NAPLES — Change is a sign of the times.

Business owners need signs to let potential customers know where they are located and also to advertise their business.

Business owners, especially those who are new to town or those who have plans to replace their existing sign, need clear parameters of what size and what kind of sign is permissible.

An entirely new Sign Ordinance is in the process of being crafted for the Town of Naples.

The Sign Ordinance draft should be ready for a public hearing sometime in April, according to Naples Code Enforcement Officer Renee Carter.

After the public hearing this spring, the Sign Ordinance will become a warrant item at the upcoming Naples Town Meeting in June.

In order for any ordinance to be added to the town’s ordinances, it must be approved by the majority of residents present at Town Meeting.

For almost a year now, the Naples Ordinance Review Committee (ORC) has been working on the new Sign Ordinance. Typically, the eight-member committee put a hiatus on meetings during the busy summer months. This winter, those meetings have been ramped up to bi-monthly gatherings.

The ORC meets at the Naples Town Office this upcoming Tuesday and Thursday; both meetings start at 9 a.m. and are slated to go until 11 a.m.

When asked how many hours the committee has spent on discussions about and revisions to the Sign Ordinance, Carter said “A lot.”

“It is a new Sign Ordinance,” which includes “clearer” language plus photos of appropriate signs versus ones that will not be allowed, Carter said.

“New language is being added that supports the comprehensive plan,” she said.

As it stands, there may be different size limits allowed, depending on whether the sign is located on the Causeway or in the Village District. Carter said that was a possibility.

In the near future, the ORC will be holding a workshop with the Naples Board of Selectmen.

After that workshop, copies of the revised Sign Ordinance will be available to the public, Carter said.

The time frame for the public hearing is “hopefully the first of April,” she said.

The public hearing is a required prelude to the ordinance appearing at Town Meeting.

In a related matter, the Town of Naples will engage an ordinance consultant. That hiring will be done through the Referrals for Bid Proposals (RFPs) process. The funding was approved for this temporary consultant position during the Town Meeting two years ago.

“The consultant will take all of the existing ordinances and combine them into one complete ordinance and show where there may be duplicates of language,” Carter said.

“Conflicts between the ordinances will be removed,” she said.

The completion of this task will be very helpful to the ORC, she said.

Cleaning up the ordinances will also make the town’s ordinances easier for the public to understand.

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