August 9, 2012

Signs: Blight and Safety Concerns Along Frenchman Road

Over the last few years, as the commercial businesses near Victor Gardens entrances were getting on their feet I (and a number of my fellow residents) noticed a growing blight and safety concern.  Today I wrote to our City Council Member Becky Petryk and Hugo's City Administrator, Bryan Bear in the hopes of addressing the problem.  I know I'm not the only one who's noticed this.  I've heard from a number of you on this, and I thought it was time to add my voice to the conversation.  If you're interested in writing or speaking to our City Council Representative or City Staff, you can find their contact information on Hugo's website. (link here).

Here's some of what I included in my correspondence today: 

Dear Council Member Petryk and Mr. Bear,

I am writing to you today about the growing number of signs outside our Victor Gardens neighborhood.  A while ago, I followed Hugo’s City Council discussion regarding our city’s Sign Ordinance.  The Council's discussion balanced the interests of local business, local residents and public safety. In the end, it seemed that the Council was interested in taming the number of signs, regulating the way they looked, and improving safety.

Since that discussion and over the last few years, the Victor Gardens Community Association spent thousands of dollars improving the appearance of our parks and common areas.  We've invested in expensive holiday decorations and decorative landscaping.  Unfortunately, our Association's work to improve our neighborhood has been countered by the growing prevalence of commercial signs just outside Victor Gardens’ entrances.  The signs range from sandwich-board signs to plywood advertising signs held in place by sandbags. Some signs are very close to the roadway and others are flag-type distractions for drivers nearby.  Most of the signs in question have been in place for at least one year.

As a small business owner, I know the importance of advertising.  I also know that Hugo's City Council considered these interests in the debate and development of Hugo's sign ordinance.  In the interest in public safety and eliminating blight along Frenchman Road, I request that the City take action and remove the signs that do not conform with Hugo's Code.  After all, it's one of Hugo's most traveled roads and serves as our City and community's "front door".

After reviewing Hugo Code Section 90-265 (Signs), it appears that all but one, the stone "Shopping Center Monument Sign",  should be removed. If you do not agree and you believe there are signs that do conform with Hugo's Code or have valid permits, I'd be interested to know which ones they are.  If they are prohibited, I expect the City of Hugo will act to remove them in a timely manner.