Signs of the Times - May 2017 - 52
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The International Sign Association
MAY 2017 EDITION
Signs Create Safer Communities
Imagine if, before beginning to recraft sign codes, planners sought out expertise from those who make the signs. It is happening more and
more. In just the last two years, more than 2,000 planners have attended ISA webinars and in-person events to help them learn more about
crafting reasonable and beneficial sign codes. These planners have left with resources produced by the Sign Research Foundation. And in May,
ISA is providing education for planners at the American Planning Association's National Planning Conference-for the third time in four years.
These events build relationships with planners, who then have a resource when they need it.
A 'Go-To' for Planners
Sign codes can be tough enough to deal with
when one jurisdiction is involved. In Calvert
County, Md., there are seven primary growth
areas called Town Centers, each with their
own zoning ordinances and sign codes, in
addition to an overall County Zoning Ordinance,
with some over-arching sign regulations. Pat
Haddon, principal planner with the county,
was tasked with fixing the sign codes.
"We just had a convoluted set of regulations,"
But maintaining the "different flavor" of each
community was important. In 2011 Haddon
started the long and winding process of
reconfiguring the sign codes. ISA's Kenny
Peskin, director of industry programs, joined
the stakeholder group for its monthly meetings.
"Kenny was very involved and helpful. We
really wanted public input and we wanted
the sign code to be reflective of a broad
swath of the public," Haddon said. "So having
the sign industry involved made sense."
After nearly two years of monthly meetings,
the stakeholder group had a sign code ready
to present at a public hearing. That's when
the U.S. Supreme Court issued its ruling in
Reed v. Town of Gilbert. "The Supreme Court
said sign codes had to be content neutral
and we weren't," Haddon said. It was back
to the drawing board.
Finally, Calvert County's sign code is almost
ready for public hearing again, and Haddon has
since moved on to longer range transportation
But working alongside ISA on the first iteration
is a model worth imitating, Haddon believes.
"No one got the impression that Kenny was
just there to get bigger signs in the code. He
supplied us with information and links to
information. If people would say, 'We want
11-foot monument signs,' he would offer,
'The standard is....' He wasn't selling a bill
of goods. He was helping people see the
way it should be."
Haddon also has worked with Peskin on a
presentation at a regional meeting of the
American Planning Association and always
seeks out the ISA booth at the National
Planning Conference. "ISA is the go-to booth
and everybody seeks out the resources they
offer," she said. "It's part of every planners'
STATS * FACTS
All four sectors-supply side printing, supply side electrical digital, end market electrical/digital and end market architectural-show favorable growth in 2017,
* * * ISA REPORT / May 2017