City cracks down on illegal signs

Dave Stewart
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The City of Charlottetown has been cracking down on illegal signs blocking sidewalks in the downtown.

Dozens of permit applications were picked up on Thursday as the City of Charlottetown began cracking down on illegal signs blocking sidewalks in the downtown.

Coun. Rob Lantz, chair of planning, was getting an earful from angry merchants not long after.

Lantz says every summer, the city sees more and more sandwich board signs and each year it gets complaints about those signs from various individuals and disability groups.

Lantz said he’s seen people in wheelchairs finding it challenging to navigate around the signs.

The city attempts to reach out each year and remind people of the rules, hoping for compliance, but it hasn’t been working.

“The signs seem to have really multiplied this year, probably because merchants see other merchants using them,’’ Lantz said Thursday. “They see an opportunity and are simply unaware of the regulations.’’

The zoning and development bylaw regulates all signage in the city. Sandwich board signs require a permit like all other signs. They can be placed on public property in front of a business but not on the sidewalk.

The owner of the signs must carry insurance because there are liability issues for both the merchant and the city.

“Even hanging signs that protrude over the sidewalk require an encroachment agreement because they could fall on someone’s head.’’

Lantz said the sandwich board signs are of a particular concern for those with mobility problems or visual impairment because they are an obstruction.

“But I’ve also heard complaints that popular attractions like the Sir John A. Macdonald statue on Queen (Street) is often completely surrounded by seven or eight signs. It creates a lot of visual clutter.’’

The city’s planning committee estimates there were 80 sandwich board signs blocking the sidewalks, most of them in the Victoria Row area and along Queen Street. Of the 80 signs, only two had a permit.

As to why the city hasn’t been enforcing the bylaw, Lantz said the only recourse is to remove illegal signs until the business obtains a permit and places them appropriately.

Geographic location: Charlottetown, Victoria Row, Queen Street

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Recent comments

  • simple solutions to everything
    July 08, 2012 - 04:02

    Anytime I see a sandwich board on a sidewalk I make it a point to walk close to it enough to topple it over. Anytime I see a noisy motorbike I throw a handful of roofing nails on the street in front of it. Police do nothing in this town except play nice with the bootleggers. When is Charlottetown Police getting disbanded and RCMP contracted? The local goon force for the good ol boys of Charlottetown needs to be turfed.

  • Grandma
    July 06, 2012 - 18:09

    The sandwich board signs, I can handle. It is those obstructions called patio restaurants that really upset me. Just plain dangerous.

  • YourNeighbourhoodWatch
    July 06, 2012 - 16:55

    They're doing absolutely nothing about noisy motorbikes.

  • Charlottetown Citizen
    July 06, 2012 - 16:52

    I believe the proper term should be "Sign Pollution". It is a very busy time of year for downtown Charlottetown. I have observed many giving the right of way for others to continue on their way past these signs. I am sure the public is well aware of what business's are there and what they have to offer. If it is a Restaurant they are looking for, then the owners can place their Menus in the Window, or on front of their buildings in an attractive manner. The public would like to walk in peace without having to watch for signs every few feet. This has become a safety issue and is just a matter of time before someone is injured. Much needed parking spots have become Dining areas and now the sidewalks have become advertising space. What next??? These sidewalk signs should not be permitted, they have become a safety issue for others.

  • wardenpei
    July 06, 2012 - 16:11

    Just one more way to take every penny, ooops they are taking that away from us, I mean take every nickle we earn away from us. The mofia, sorry the government has to start working for the majority instead of the rich unless they want people to riot in the streets. The human being will only take so much before he/she will defend themself, and that is the way it's starting to feel. Groceries,gas,daycare,and other bills leaves nothing in our wallets at the end of the week, but lines the fat cats pockets. We work to survive and that's it. What's wrong with that picture?

  • Donnie
    July 06, 2012 - 13:44

    Funny how that big off-site signage at the Confed Center isn't regulated, or any of the ones up at the bus stops, all in violation of the city's signage by-laws....

  • Katie
    July 06, 2012 - 13:32

    The same goes for people who leave their black and green bins on the sidewalks. People are oblivious to the fact that whose with a physical disability or even a stroller, might literally be stuck with no way to go around them and often a steep dip off the sidewalk or a long trek backward as the options. I have seen children and adults forced onto the road to avoid them. I would also like to know which 2 businesses have their permits. Good for them for following the rules.