Proposed signage restrictions not popular
By: Cathy Ellis
| Posted: Thursday, May 24, 2012 06:00 am
A move to ban signs mounted on vehicles that primarily advertise or promote businesses is being met with opposition from members of Banff’s business community.
The municipality aims to be proactive in preventing mobile billboards – with large TV screens and speakers blasting music – but hoteliers and landlords argue the proposed regulation is extreme.
Darren Reeder, executive director of Banff Lake Louise Hotel Motel Association, said banning advertising on vehicles will make it more difficult to do business in Banff.
“Does this mean a local plumbing company with their company logo and phone number affixed to a mobile ladder will have to remove it?” Reeder said.
“The way this amendment is worded, it would also appear to us that a visitor from Calgary with a signed or decaled vehicle promoting their own business runs the risk of being fined when their vehicle is parked in town.”
The proposed legislation forms part of the amending Land Use Bylaw. Council has passed first reading of the amending bylaw and is expected to debate proposed changes at its meeting next Monday (May 28).
New language in the bylaw would ban any sign erected or attached to any vehicle where the primary use of such vehicles shall be to advertise or identify a specific business.
Vehicles parked in a manner considered as a means of advertising shall be prohibited. For example, presently the Eddie Burger Bar has a hamburger on top of one of its vehicles and Discover Banff Tours has a moose on one of its cars.
But Town administrators say the proposed legislation aims to prevent mobile billboards mounted on the back of trucks, which can include large TV screens and speakers blasting music or advertising.
Darren Enns, Banff’s senior planner, said these mobile devices are increasingly being used in North America, such as during the Vancouver Olympics, where zoning and land use controls prohibit or limit traditional billboards, such as in Banff.
He said administration believes traditional billboards are not permitted in Banff because they do not mesh with the community’s vision of appropriate signage.
“A billboard strapped to the back of the truck is equally not appropriate – and this is an attempt to take a proactive approach to saying we’re not wanting that in our community,” said Enns.
“The regulatory approach we’ve adopted speaks to the ‘primary’ use of the vehicle as advertising, as opposed to the vehicle being used for some other purpose, but also having an advertising component, for example a plumbing truck with a company name on it.”
Other proposals in the LUB would see a ban on freestanding signs at corner locations in the commercial accommodation district, as well as a ban on canopy-awning signs.
But businesses argue the sign bylaws are already restrictive enough.
If anything, they say council should explore evolving with the times on signage – to allow for digital technology on applications such as town entry signs or other signs that need updating regularly.
“We’re wary of a complete prohibition on things in this bylaw,” said Gordon Lozeman, president of Banff Caribou Properties. “It rules out the possibility of ever looking at something.”
Enns said Banff’s design guidelines – a key part of the LUB – indicates visitors should be given the impression of a series of freestanding mountain lodges set in a park-like setting, that landscaping should be maximized and paving should be minimized.
“Administration believes landscaping refers to vegetation, and that one way to ensure that landscaping is maximized in the front yards is to reduce other devices such as signs in those front yards,” he said.
“This is the underlying rationale behind the proposed amendments to signage amendments in the CA District.”
Part of the LUB review included addressing the aesthetics of the downtown core, including addressing buildings that employ inappropriate design elements.
Enns said one example taht administration believes is included in this category is signage affixed directly to a fabric awning. Similar regulations occur in other tourism-based locales such as The River Walk in San Antonio.
“The use of fabric awnings as shade devices has a long history in Banff, for example, the Dave Whyte Block, however the affixing of signage to a surface, usually vinyl transfers, only came into prominence in the 1970s and 1980s,” he said.
“The materials used in this signage do not reflect any characteristics of the local environment, which we believe is counter to the direction of the LUB.”