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7/31/2012 10:20:00 AM
Customization of Tusayan P&Z ordinance continues
Revisions focus on banner signs and sign lighting

David Yankus

TUSAYAN, Ariz. - The second Planning and Zoning (P&Z) Commission workshop on changes to the zoning ordinance was held July 24. The workshop was held to discuss whether the town of Tusayan should amend its zoning ordinance to define and regulate banner signs, as well as discuss if the Commission should revisit lighting regulations regarding signage or make further changes to landscape regulations.

At the last workshop, on June 26, the commission directed staff to research how other jurisdictions dealt with banner signs. The commission was also interested in reviewing the sections of the zoning ordinance on lighting, signs, and landscaping.

Municipal precedent:

Most zoning ordinances consider banner signs to be a type of temporary sign. Tusayan's zoning ordinance does not define either temporary or banner signs. In fact, the zoning ordinance states "no cloth, paper, plastic, or similar advertising signs or devices other than in rigid frames as provided herein shall be permitted" (section 16.2.H). This would appear to prohibit banner signs unless they are in rigid frames. The ordinance provides for special sale signs (section 16.4.C), which are a type of temporary sign. They are allowed only 14 days per calendar quarter and only permitted if in rigid frames.

The section of the zoning ordinance that deals with temporary uses also allows signs. Section 14.1-2 indicates that one, six-square-foot freestanding or wall sign may be permitted. Additional signage in connection with a temporary use permit may be allowed at the discretion of the P&Z Commission.

According to a town of Tusayan staff report, after reviewing other jurisdiction's regulations, they recommended that changes should be made to the town's zoning ordinance to allow the use of banners without the requirement that they be placed in a rigid frame. Provided banners are professionally made, fixed to a permanent surface, limited in size and quantity and allowed for short periods of time; they can be an appropriate component of any community's regulations.

Other changes staff offered were to amend certain sections for general provisions and special sale signs, as well as adding to the definition of banner. Banner shall now mean a temporary sign made of pliable material that may or may not be located in a rigid frame.

Staff also amended section 16.7.A add the requirements that banner signs for a business grand opening, change of name, change of management, and while a permanent sign is in the town's approval process abide by the following:

• maximum time of 14 days;

• maximum size of 32 square feet;

• must be located on a building wall, below the roof line;

• must be professionally made;

• one banner sign allowed per street frontage;

• sign permit is required; and

• one sign allowed per business per year

The section on special purpose signs was amended as well to add a new component regarding house of worship announcement banner signs. This new component to section 16.4 states one banner sign may be placed on the site of the future construction/location of a house of worship. The purpose of the sign shall be to announce the coming of the house of worship to the site. The sign shall be vented to withstand wind, it shall be set back from the closest property line at least 10 feet, and it shall be a maximum area of 32 square feet and a maximum height of eight feet.

One banner sign may be placed on the wall of a building announcing an event or other temporary occurrence at a house of worship. The banner shall be a maximum area of 32 square feet, be professionally made, and be up for a maximum of 14 days.

Staff also recommended that the P&Z Commission may want to consider amending the section that deals with temporary use permits to accommodate temporary signs that are not provided for elsewhere in the zoning ordinance. An example of this type of sign and purpose would be the recent approval of the TUP for the banner signs for the IMAX Theater.

The standards for externally and internally illuminated signs were proposed to be amended also. Section 17.5 states "external illumination for signs shall be limited to signs constructed of natural materials and shall conform to all provisions of this code."

Section 17.5.C states "the sign face of an outdoor internally illuminated advertising sign must be composed of illuminated text and symbols against an opaque (not illuminated) background. The colors of these elements are not restricted." Clearly, the internal illumination of signs is favored. The amendment also states bottom-mounted outdoor advertising sign lighting shall not be used after the effective date of this ordinance.

Fiscal impact:

According to the staff report, the only direct fiscal impact of moving forward with the proposed revisions of the zoning ordinance would be the cost associated with the required legal notice and public hearings. Staff does not foresee and significant fiscal impact to the town government associated with the approval and implementation of the proposed changes.


Town staff suggested that the commission review and discuss the proposed ordinance changes and provide Staff with guidance with regard to the changes as well as any other changes the commission wishes to see. The town will begin the public notification process when the zoning ordinance is ready to move forward for public hearing by the P&Z Commission.

Additionally, some other key changes made to the zoning ordinance sections on signs, lighting and landscaping are as follows:

• a visitor information sign will be allowed in commercial zones;

• a property owner will have more time, six months, to remove a sign for a discontinued business. The owner will have the option of just removing the sign message, allowing the sign structure to remain;

• fluorescent signs will be prohibited;

• the base of a freestanding sign will have to be landscaped;

• increases in sign area for commercial freestanding signs and wall signs have been added;

• narrow spectrum amber LED will be added as a preferred light source;

• the requirements for lamp source, shielding of light emissions and total outdoor light output will be revised based on input from the expert from the Naval Observatory;

• the holiday lighting restrictions have been changed to be more flexible;

• credit will be allowed for existing landscaping; and

• changes to require the use of effluent to irrigate landscaping have been included.

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