- Will Arlington really end the crackdown on these pesky sidewalk signs? (Photo courtesy Clarendon Culture.)
Update: ARLNow brings up another prime example of the skirmish over the sign laws.
Everyone seems to agree that Arlington County can be a little finicky about its signs. All five members of the County Board said as much at a meeting Thursday morning. But given the bureaucratic process required to change the law, businesses could still be stuck without their sidewalk signs for awhile.
Or maybe not.
The county is looking into giving businesses a pass on certain signs while it works on changing countywide sign laws, members say. Board chairman Jay Fisette said the board has asked the county attorney whether it’s possible to suspend enforcement of certain sign laws (like the one that got a couple of A-frame sidewalk signs confiscated off North Fillmore Street two weeks ago) while the sign policies are revised.
Board member Chris Zimmerman says he’s hoping to have an answer on that within the next couple of weeks.
“I think this is the case where the short term actually matters,” he says. "We have to have policies that help people actually ride out the bad times, too.” He said there are several businesses along Columbia Pike, for example, that he believes are struggling because of poor visibility.
A-frame signs, or sandwich board signs, have been a particular sticking point in recent weeks. Screwtop Wine Bar and Bake Shop both had their signs confiscated — after warnings, according to the county — and several garden competition winners were technically in violation recently according to the Sun Gazette. Still, the signs are commonly used, and have popped back up even in some areas where enforcement has recently been targeted.
"The A-frame signs are the kind of thing that to me is desirable because it’s easy to do, it’s inexpensive, it can be tailored to an individual business, and it livens up the street," Zimmerman said during the county board meeting. "I’m not saying it should be unregulated, but on the other hand it shouldn’t be so restrictive that we’re going to fine people for putting something out that will help people know where their business is.”