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City moves to revamp public sign bylaw

The city is revamping its business sign bylaw to reflect changing tastes and technology.
June 17, 2015 - 8:30 AM

KELOWNA - In the face of changing tastes and technology the City of Kelowna could soon deal with signs in a different way.

City council is directing staff to revamp its sign bylaw, but they expect plenty of consultation with business owners and other stakeholders.

“Signage is important to everyone really. The city gets a lot of calls about signs people don’t like,” planner Ryan Roycroft says. “As planners, we often look at building shapes and sizes but it’s signs that shape how a business is perceived by the community.”

Roycroft says staff will look at a number of changes including changing the number of unlit fascia signs that are allowed, making allowances for so-called band signs that encircle buildings and allowing more monument signs, which are currently grouped in with free-standing signs.

Staff are also considering reducing the number of tall free standing signs and clarifying policy on awning signs as well as placing on controls on animated and LED signs limiting their brightness. Policy around smaller signs such as sandwich boards as well as real estate and open house signs will be clarified.

“From a business perspective, especially small businesses with small advertising budgets, the sign is what is going to grab attention and that may be their biggest chance to get noticed,” Roycroft says.

Kelowna’s current sign bylaw was adopted in 1998 and been revised 21 times. With changing tastes in signage has come an increase in requests for variance as design style moves toward more subtle fascia signs and away from the multiple-faced backlit box signs.

Roycroft says he hopes to have a draft of the rewritten bylaw available for the fall, but says that will depend somewhat on how long it takes to consult business and tourism groups as well as sign manufacturers and local residents.

“The bylaw has to make sense for the people who make the signs, people looking to advertise and people who expect signs to fit in with our beautiful city.”

To contact the reporter for this story, email John McDonald at or call 250-808-0143. To contact the editor, email or call 250-718-2724.

News from © iNFOnews, 2015

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