New sign ordinance takes effect April 1

CREATED Mar 24, 2014

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The Cape is cracking down on how businesses can advertise. Beginning a week from tomorrow some of the things you've seen for years will now be against the law. You know all those people you see alongside the road waving and spinning signs around and doing cartwheels and all? No more, not legally anyway. Come Tuesday it'll be against the law. For years there was no law in place about any of those roadside signs.

"A-frames and feather banners are not currently part of any ordinance," said Mike Quaintance, with the Cape Coral Chamber of Commerce. "A-frames are those folding signs walk-in businesses use to usually advertise specials. Feather banners are those signs on a pole that flap in the wind. Right now they're not legal, they're not illegal. Businesses have been using them for years but April 1, Cape council has put strict rules on them.

"Allowing a business to use one A-frame sign or one feather banner 365 days a year during their business hours of operation," explained Quaintance. That means no more lining the street, they can only have one. But, there was a proposal to do away with them all together. "That can be kind of a detriment to some of the businesses," added Quaintance. "They need that because of either the proximity to the street or maybe there's, they need something to draw customers into their business".

They also said stores can now have 50 percent of their windows covered in signs. Any more than that is a problem. "The city deems that as a safety issue in case somebody is in there trying to rob it. Police don't have a clear view of what's transpiring," Quaintance said.

What the city eliminated is people standing around waving or spinning signs. But all of this has some wondering how and who is going to enforce all this...police or code enforcement? "When can we expect Code to be coming to us to double their staff," asked Councilman Rick Williams in Monday's council meeting. "I love what I see but you've got a job ahead of you trying to enforce all this".

"I'm in education, I'm looking at these and I'm like, you know, how in the world are you gonna police those window coverings. You all talkin bout glazing, I'm thinkin about a donut. (laughter) I have no idea," mused Councilman Derrick Donnell.

Although it's supposed to go into effect next Tuesday, city officials say they'll be slow to enforce it until everyone understands the new laws. And, oh by the way, none of this affects realtors trying to sell houses. They can still do whatever they want when it comes to advertising.