A majority of the members of the Ceres Planning Commission and Ceres City Council do not want businesses setting up A-frame signs. So they all must be removed by April 1 or business owners will face enforcement actions.
A joint meeting the two city panels met on Monday, Feb. 24 to discuss a recommendation made by an ad hoc sign ordinance committee which suggested that businesses should be allowed to put up an A-frame sign in front of their business but not along the public right of way. However, the recommendation met resistance from six of the 10 decision makers. Planning Commissioners Hugo Molina and Gary Del Nero felt A-frames were okay as well as Councilman Mike Kline and Vice Mayor Bret Durossette. However, they were outvoted by Commissioners Laurie Smith, Bob Kachel, and Dave Chapman as well as Mayor Chris Vierra, and councilmembers Ken Lane and Linda Ryno.
Ryno expressed concern about A-frame signs hogging up space for people who use mobility devices, such as wheelchairs.
The decision means that current law which bans A-frame signs will remain unchanged.
Banners will continue to be allowed for only 90 days per year but a permit would need to be obtained from the Planning Division at City Hall.
Feather banners will only be allowed for grand opening type events but cannot be flown without a permit.
The panel also backed a plan to make car dealers live by the same rules as other businesses. Car lots have been allowed to use feather banners while other types of businesses cannot.
Sign spinners and mannequins holding signs will continue to be against city law.
Businesses will be able to use inflatable signs but only during a special event and only 15 days out of the year. Again, a permit needs to be obtained from the city.
Before the sign ordinance changes may take effect, the City Council must amend the ordinance. Enforcement will begin after a grace period following the law change, said Community Development Director Tom Westbrook. The joint panel determined that enforcement would begin on April 1.
Last month officers of the Ceres Police Department began to ask businesses to take down their illegal signs, focusing on Mitchell Road first. Three of 29 businesses complied. City administrators halted the enforcement pending a decision on sign ordinance changes.