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THOUSAND OAKS : Council to Weigh Curbs on Neon Signs

Undaunted by months of marathon hearings on sign-related issues, the Thousand Oaks City Council on Tuesday will consider tightening its codes by restricting the use of neon window signs.

The city’s strict sign ordinance, adopted in 1964, contains no mention of neon. Several citizens and council members have expressed concern that this oversight has spawned a bevy of neon window signs, which they say creates a cluttered, urban look.

In a letter to Mayor Elois Zeanah, one resident listed 318 neon signs on some of Thousand Oaks’ major thoroughfares. While most establishments stuck with one or two signs, he found, some had four or five, and one displayed a dozen.

To address the problem, city staff has suggested limiting neon signs to five per business--at least during a two-year pilot program.

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But some council members want to impose even more stringent restrictions.

Councilman Frank Schillo said he would favor a complete ban on neon signs in new businesses and a gradual phase-out of existing neon advertisements.

“They’re proliferating, obviously, and we need a hiatus,” Schillo said. He cautioned, however, that he did not want to “put someone out of business for having a sign that was completely legitimate at the time they put it up.”

The council is scheduled to consider the sign issue during the early portion of its agenda, which starts at 5 p.m.

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