About the Colony

Atascadero should stop ignoring ugly signs around town

Special to The TribuneMay 6, 2013 

Lon Allan


I was waiting for the traffic light to turn green the other day, stopped in front of the commercial center that houses Vons, Rite-Aid and a number of smaller retailers.

About a year ago the city installed a “way finding” sign next to the sidewalk in front of the auto lube business in this block. The attractive sign reads “Downtown” and “Cinemas.” The sign is part of a larger project to place other such signage around the downtown. Because of budget restrictions, not all the signs have been put up yet.

But if you look about 50 feet to the south of this nice-looking signage, you see just the opposite. Why would the city spend the money to install attractive signage and then turn its head on nonconforming signs illegally erected in the landscaping?

There is a large banner stretched between two steel posts and then smaller signs for other businesses poked in the landscaping all along the El Camino Real frontage. I don’t understand why such signage hasn’t been removed, either upon order by the city’s code enforcement folks or somebody from the city simply stopping, pulling them out and throwing them away.

I’ve removed dozens of such signs over the years, pulling them out of flower beds or even the landscaped median downtown.

I even found one council member who is upset about the large banner in this location. The sign was originally put up when a designer store took over the large space occupied for so many years by the Outlet Tool Company, a business I really miss. The designer store disappeared almost as fast as it settled here.

And while we’re at it, why hasn’t the old Carl’s Jr. sign been removed from in front of the former location, another 200 feet from the area I’m talking about?

The city has hired marketing experts to craft some clever jingles and logos to lure tourists to the community, money which I believe could be better spent elsewhere. But if we are going to spend money to bring people here, shouldn’t we be taking steps to clean up our front porch?

The whole Highway 101/41 interchange is a very attractive approach to downtown Atascadero.

It doesn’t make sense to ignore these ugly and nonconforming signs in this location, or anywhere else in town.

Lon Allan has lived in Atascadero for nearly five decades and his column is published weekly. Reach him at 466-8529 or leallan@tcsn.net.

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