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City begins crackdown of illegal signs
A-frames, feather signs not permitted
Taylor Shopping Center on Mitchell Road has been replete with multiple violations of the city sign ordinance over the years, including windblown and A-frame signs. The city will now be going after businesses which continue to display them. - photo by JEFF BENZIGER/Courier photo

City officials will no longer be looking the other way when they spot A-frame signs set along the roadside or on a sidewalk in front of a business.

Enforcement of the ban against A-frame business signs started yesterday in Ceres.

A-frame signs have been illegal in Ceres for years but the city interrupted a February crackdown on the signs pending the City Council making a final determination on them. During a Feb. 24 joint meeting with the Planning Commission, the council said that A-frame do detract from the aesthetics of Ceres and must go. The city postponed enforcement until April 1 to give business owners enough time to be educated and comply with the city sign ordinance.

The city will also be cracking down on feather banners that fly from a pole, typically a white PVC pipe. Feather banners will only be allowed for grand opening type events but cannot be flown without a permit.

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.

The city will be amending its sign ordinance 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.

In February 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.

Community Development Director Tom Westbrook said the city's code enforcement team will be taking action to remove signs.

The city sign ordinance allows real estate signs and political signs on a limited basis.

Illegal signs are those that constitute a potential traffic hazard by being placed in such a manner as to obstruct free and clear vision of pedestrian traffic, or which simulate in size, color, lettering or design any traffic sign or signal. Illegal signs are any signs within the public right of way, including those on street trees, utility poles, street signals, streetlights, street name signs, traffic warning signs or sidewalks, except official. Signs may not move, swing, rotate, flash, blink or otherwise animated components, except barber poles, clocks, thermometers or electronic changeable copy signs. Also not permitted are windblown devices and signs whose movement is designed to attract attention, such as pennants, flags, inflatable signs or balloons, inflatable animals or similar signs, or reflective attachments to sign faces.

The city sign ordinance also does not permit vehicle signs or signs on or affixed to trucks, vans, automobiles, trailers or other vehicles which advertise, or provide direction to, a use or activity not related to the lawful making of deliveries or sales of merchandise or rendering of service from such vehicle.

Also any signs that are portable or freestanding (not permanently affixed, anchored or secured to the ground or structure) are illegal.