Blocking out the scenery. Breaking my mind.
No, the current sign ordinance being considered by the Jackson Town Council isn’t a do-this-don’t-do-that mandate against which the counterculture is pushing back.
But it’s probably not a good idea.
Turns out I’m the only council candidate willing to say no to temporary signs and banners for businesses, as Mayor Mark Barron has proposed. Nonprofits still would be allowed to display banners for their community events.
This isn’t the most pressing issue, and it’s not like I’m on a crusade against signs (besides political yard signs, of course), but we have an obligation to keep the town looking tidy and not a junk show.
From the News&Guide article:
“It doesn’t bother me when someone hangs a sale sign outside their business,” Stanford said in the email. “But I am leery of having the planning department monitor the size, frequency and duration of all signs in town. It might be simpler not to allow any signs.”
When the reporter first called and asked my stance on the proposed ordinance, I told him I opposed it. My gut feeling is it’s better to have too few of these banners — advertising sales and such — than too many. Besides, aren’t there better ways in 2012 to convey this information? (Facebook, anyone?)
Then I talked to two friends who served on the council back in the 1980s: Paul Bruun and Nancy Baudisch, our longtime bookkeeper at Barker-Ewing. Turns out Nancy championed the existing ordinance that restricts businesses from displaying temporary banners, and she and Paul got it passed. Both of them said hell no to the proposed change.
One of the things I’ve learned while running for council is that a lot of these issues have come up before, and history can serve as a guide. (The proposed purchase of the Forest Service property on North Cache is another example, but I’ll save that for a separate post.) The town was an eyesore with all sorts of banners, one business trying to outdo the next, before Nancy and Paul took action.
A News&Guide editorial decried the proposed change:
Jackson can do without temporary commercial signs that likely wouldn’t boost business but would degrade the character of a town that has taken pains to look smart.
With continued vigilance, Paul’s and Nancy’s vision of a less cluttered Jackson is alive and doing fine.