City Council to review its Costa Mesa's sign policy

COSTA MESA — Sweeping revisions to the city's sign code is set to come before the City Council next month, according to a city planning administrator.

The six revisions drafted by the Planning Department will be considered by the council as a new business item on May 3, said Claire Flynn, city planning administrator.

The last major revision to the city's sign code was in 2002, when electronic changeable signs were prohibited, according to a Planning Commission staff report.

If approved, the new ordinance will retain the restriction on LED signs but through a planned program allow their use on a case-to-case basis at major shopping centers, like the South Coast Collection and Triangle Square.

The ordinance will neither decrease nor increase the city's number of LED signs, said Planning Commission Chairman Colin McCarthy.

"We haven't updated our sign code in too long," McCarthy said. "Times are changing, and the way businesses are advertising are changing, and we need to be responsive to those changes."

Other possible revisions include: limiting building wall signage to not exceed 75% of the total storefront width; requiring 300 feet between free-standing signs on the same site; requiring support poles for free-standing signs to be camouflaged within a support structure that matches the architecture of the development; and easing the restriction on painted wall signs.

The revisions are intended to increase the functionality of signs and their aesthetic appeal.

Earlier this year, the city placed limitations on temporary banners and a requirement that businesses display city-issued permits for the banners.

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