Changes in the Signage Ordinance

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If you're a local business owner, you've probably heard that changes are coming to the City's signage ordinance, but what do they mean for you?

The Supreme Court instituted an ordinance that states municipalities are not allowed to regulate the content of signs, but can regulate time, location, size and a few other factors. This ordinance made it simple for Garland to allow businesses to allow various forms of signage. As years went by, the City continued to implement ordinances that tackled signage regulations. Some were for temporary signage, others for window signs, and so on, until eventually the signage chapter of City code just became too busy. That's when an ordinance update went to Council.

These are the changes to the signage ordinance that came into effect June 1:

  1. The most affected part of the ordinance is temporary and window signage.
    -  Temporary signs are now prohibited. 

  2. Only 25% of store front window space can be covered by signage.
    -  This has always been part of the signage ordinance, but now inspectors will enforce it.

  3. Temporary signs also include vehicle signage.
    -  If you plan to wrap your vehicle or park wrapped vehicles by your business, that is a temporary sign.

  4. A new business is allowed to have a temporary Grand Opening sign for 20 days after the official grand opening.
    -  Grand Opening temporary signage is based on your certificate of occupancy. Every business should file a CO. Once you file, let Building Inspection know when your grand opening is and your clock start running after.
    -  If you file an ownership change or relocating CO, if you want to showcase the change with temporary signage, you have to let Building Inspection know and they will allow the 20 days.

  5. Billboards are allowed to stay up until they are taken down or destroyed.
    -  It has always been part of the ordinance that there is no off-premise advertising. There is an opportunity to add a digital billboard with the condition you take three down to put up the one.
    -  Current billboards are legal non-conforming, which is the correct terminology for grandfathered in.

  6. Regulations are different for Downtown.
    -  Downtown businesses are allowed to have sandwich board signs, and a few other perks.
    -  If you have specific questions, please contact Building Inspection.

  7. Monumental signage is a great opportunity.
    -  They are allowed in all zoning districts.
    -  There are opportunities for manufacturers to include a “We are Hiring” message in a digital monumental sign.
       (There are a few regulations with lighting of a monumental signs. For details, contact Building Inspection.)

  8. For businesses in a strip center, there are opportunities for multi-tenant signage.

Building Inspection will wait for all current permits to expire before enforcing the current ordinance. They will create a systematic process with their inspectors to communicate and bring awareness to the new changes.

Building Official, Jim Olk, said, “A few years ago, I saw one of my inspectors had a motto at his desk that read, ‘You can’t do anything without permission, but you can do anything with permission.’” If you want to display a sign, use Building Inspection as a resource. They will guide you and find ways to work with you. The new changes to the ordinance might seem drastic, but there are other opportunities to bring awareness to the community of Garland that your business is here. “Signage is not the key to success,” Paul Mayer, CEO of the Garland Chamber, said. “There are opportunities and resources the Chamber offer that can be solutions to their problems.”

If you want to learn more about resources the Garland Chamber offers to help business, reach out to Andrea Tamez, Small Business Program Coordinator, at (469) 326-7464 or Andrea.Tamez@garlandchamber.com.

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