Ordinance Change Refines the Rules for Posting SignsAug 10, 2015 10:24AM ● By Bryan Scott
By James Luke
Candidates for public office, real estate businesses and even residents holding yard sales may all need to be aware of some changes to South Jordan city sign ordinances. The city council passed Resolution 2015-41, Notice of a Pending Ordinance Change Regarding Signs, at the June 2 meeting. The 3-1 vote in favor of the resolution will put in place some new sign regulations and enforcement provisions, but the rules are temporary. Change to the city code requires a six-month notice period before becoming final.
The ordinance changes will set new standards for signs posted around the city throughout 2015, impacting signs for political campaigns in this year with three city council positions up for election. The city has produced a map, available online, to clarify the areas where signs are not allowed. City staff has received instructions to remove all signs that are posted in violation of the resolution.
“The goal has been to clarify enforcement,” said City Attorney Ryan Loose. He noted that after the six-month notice period, the council can address any concerns with the rules in the final ordinance.
Loose noted that city employees are not authorized to tamper with campaign signs that are on privately owned property. “If something is unclear, we will be lenient in enforcement,” he promised, noting that this policy change applies to all types of signs, not just political signs.
Section Three of the resolution defines enforcement. Under the new regulation changes, all city staff are directed to remove signs from city property, not just the code enforcement officers who previously had sole charge over sign removal efforts in South Jordan. Signs found in violation will be taken to Public Works for storage and can generally be reclaimed by the owner.
“I don’t think the problem has been erratic enforcement, just that staff is not always able to keep up with enforcement” under the existing sign regulations, noted Councilman Steve Barnes of district four, who is not running for re-election. He cast the opposing vote to the resolution authorizing the ordinance change.
Some areas of South Jordan are tightly controlled. Most fencing and park strip areas are off limits to signs along most of 10600 South and 11400 South, for example, limiting sign-posting options to private property with permission of the owner.
“I feel that this resolution will make campaigning more difficult,” noted the lone incumbent council member who is facing a re-election campaign this year, Councilman Chuck Newton of district two. “While campaign signs are one issue, I worry that this might affect other businesses, such as real estate signs.” In light of his potential conflict as a candidate with the restrictions of the law, Newton abstained from a vote on the resolution.