Redlands to propose Sign Code Amendment

The Redlands Chamber of Commerce will ask the City Council to consider an amendment to the Sign Code that will allow business outside the downtown business arena for the opportunity to use A-frame signs. The current code does not allow businesses to use A-frame structures if located outside the geographic confines of the Downtown Business District.

During these extremely difficult economic times businesses are reinventing, recreating new and innovative ways to find new customers and clients and many are looking for unique and distinctive advertising opportunities. While A-frames have been banned in commercial areas outside of downtown many businesses have opted for using them attempting lure customers in, but have found themselves on the wrong side of the law and have been cited by code enforcement and forced to remove the violating sign.

While amendments have been suggested they come at enormous cost to the individual so the Chamber is seeking an Ordinance Text Amendment that would allow A-frame signs to be used by businesses that are not currently permitted to do so.

Size, construction and placement will all be considered in the amended language to minimize clutter and still allow businesses to advertise appropriately.

The amendment will be processed through the Planning Commission then on to City Council with adequate time for public input. With smooth sailing the amendment could be approved as early as the first of the year, 2012. Watch for updates on the website and via email and if needed be prepared to lobby council for quick and equitable action on behalf of all the businesses of Redlands.

The National Pollution Discharge Elimination Systems Fee

             The City of Redlandshas mailed out letters and invoices and the subject matter is the National Pollution Elimination System (NPDES) Regulatory Compliance Program.  The letter explains that Congress (Government Agency #1) established the Water Quality Act establishing the NPDES program run by the Environmental Protection Agency (Government Agency #2) overseen by the State and administered by the Regional Water Quality Control Boards (Government Agency #3) that has partnered with the City of Redlands (Government Agency #4) that will collect the NPDES Compliance Fee, in conjunction with business license renewal fees.

            The City will also determine the business classification or in lay terms determine what fee is to be charged to “qualifying” businesses.  The letter reads the “regulatory fee has been in effect since 2004 and is necessary to fund a portion of the program activities, such as periodic business inspections, program compliance, reporting, record keeping, educational outreach, monitoring activities, personnel etc.”.

            The Chamber, like many of the businesses, was unaware of the fee and the collection method and is now working with elected officials and city staff to understand the process and help to develop a better communication system in the future that will avoid surprising fees and unexpected, unbudgeted surcharges.