© Conor McCarthy/The Guardian
Jocelyn Fraser of Charlottetown says it makes sense that there are different rules around signage in different areas of the city. The city is moving to a zone-based approach. The changes don't take effect until after second and third reading, which will likely happen next month.
There could soon be more electronic signs in the capital city.
Charlottetown city council gave first reading to amendments to the zoning and development bylaw around signage at its monthly meeting Monday night.
Second and third reading could happen as soon as the next regular council meeting on April 11. Amendments can still be made prior to second reading.
The big change is that electronic signs will now be allowed through the city, with the exception of the 500 lot area (properties south of Euston Street), designated heritage properties or in residential areas. The changes would not impact signs currently up, such as Confederation Centre of the Arts, which is located in the 500 lot area and has an electronic sign.
"The big headline is the introduction of electronic signage. That is something the business community has been wanting for a long time,'' said Coun. Greg Rivard, chairman of the city's planning and heritage committees.
Until third reading is complete, electronic signs are prohibited except in special cases.
The process of amending the signage rules has taken the better part of a year and involved public meetings.
The other big change is that when the bylaw takes effect, after third reading, the city's planning department will base the new rules on a zone-based approach as opposed to the old frontage criteria, where the frontage along the property indicated how much signage there could be.
"Now, the size of the sign you get depends on what zone you are in.''
In other words, bigger signs would be allowed in commercial areas.
People on the streets of Charlottetown seem to think different rules for different areas of the city makes sense.
Walking to the bus stop on Monday, Jocelyn Fraser calls the big signs on University Avenue "abrasive signs'' but admits they fit in with the commercial nature of the street.
Fraser noted that she wouldn't want to see the same big signs in downtown core which has a more heritage feel to it.
Others The Guardian talked to say they hope the city makes smart decisions with future signage and is sensitive to the historic ambience.
Other amendments made to the signage bylaw include limiting how many feathered banners a business can display and new rules around sandwich boards.
"A sandwich board either has to be right against the street or up right against the wall. They can't be out in the middle of the sidewalk,'' Rivard said.
In addition, real estate signs and political signs no longer require permits.
Again, the new bylaw doesn't take effect until after second and third reading.