About the Colony

Keep an eye on those banners in Atascadero

There is a growing trend of obnoxious flags springing up in Atascadero that trash up the community.

I’m talking about those tall banners that are very colorful and have a variety of designs or, in some cases, the name of the business printed on them.

Now would be a good time for the city to pounce on them before they proliferate any further along our two major corridors — El Camino Real and Morro Road.

But the city can’t even get a handle on those non-conforming sandwich board signs. Remember when those signs were illegal?

At the insistence of the business community and others, the city made them legal with the idea that it could then control the design, size and placement. None of the above has taken place, as these signs, spread from one end of El Camino Real to the other, are allowed to remain.

I’ve noticed one such sandwich board sign has stood at the gateway into Atascadero at El Camino Real and Morro Road.

In spite of the millions of dollars of improvements at this intersection which includes Rite-Aid, the new freeway interchange and Colony Square with its new Galaxy Theatres, that sign remains attached to a city light pole or some other utility pole.

The errant sign advertises something almost two miles away. Definitely not an allowed use.

It is also unfair to those businesses that choose to follow the rules.

In fairness, maybe dozens of other businesses in the downtown should padlock their own sandwich board signs to the remaining poles at the major intersection.

It is a very big intersection after all. It is evidently OK with those charged with enforcing the city’s sign ordinance, which includes not only staff but our elected officials as well.

I’m concerned because one commissioned study of Atascadero referred to the prevalence of a “garage sale” mentality to the community. Ouch! That hurts, as the truth often does.

Improvements to the downtown community must be met with an insistence on enforcement of the codes regarding signs as much as the building structures themselves — that we are as concerned that our buildings are safe and sanitary as they are pleasant to look at.

Unsightly banners hang from downtown businesses day after day. Generally only the fierce winds and winter storms remove them.

I think Atascadero and its residents deserve better.