About the Colony

New Atascadero sign guidelines should be adopted — and enforced

Lon Allan
Lon Allan jjohnston@thetribunenews.com

The Atascadero Planning Commission meets Tuesday night to consider making some changes to the city’s sign regulations and recommending that the City Council adopt a new sign ordinance.

For the past two years the City Council has been on a course to make improvements in its commercial signage regulations so that everyone understands them. City staff has made an attempt to provide information to businesses regarding what signs are allowed and to eliminate nonconforming signs.

In a nice-guy approach to getting businesses to comply with the city’s sign regulations, city and chamber of commerce officials learned that some of the areas of the existing ordinance were confusing to businesses. The city even reduced the cost of obtaining a sign permit. As recently as last month, city staff visited more than 30 businesses that were “found to be inconsistent with the city’s sign regulations,” according to a background memo to the commissioners. I applaud the city’s positive approach to these signs.

The “big sweep” took place in the spring of 2015, when city staff and chamber volunteers did a door-to-door blitz billed as the “Improve Atascadero Signage Campaign.” It resulted in increased compliance and a nicer-looking downtown. Gone are those ugly sandwich board signs. Those feather signs have disappeared as well.

The commission’s public hearing will address the entire sign issue.

As the commissioners and the City Council put their stamp of approval on the new sign ordinance, I would ask that whatever regulations are imposed are actually enforced.

There are only a few sign issues that still bother me as I drive up and down El Camino Real. One is the Carl’s Jr. sign at Adobe Plaza. That fast-food facility moved out of the plaza many years go, yet the sign is still there. And let’s hope that the new ordinance results in lowering the sign at the former motorcycle shop at Curbaril Avenue and El Camino Real, where a brewery complex is going in.

I hope that the revised sign ordinance makes it easier for businesses to understand what’s allowed — and for the city to enforce it.

Lon Allan’s column is special to The Tribune.

His column appears here every week. Reach Allan at 805-466-8529 or leallan@tcsn.net.