Essex working to improve sign by-law to reduce sign pollution

AM800-News-Roadside Signs

Essex Council is working to clarify and strengthen its sign by-law in an effort to reduce sign pollution.

The proposed changes cover everything from the size of a sign, how many and what type can be set-up along a roadway, where they can be placed, and rules around electronic and illuminated signs, such as technical standards or how bright they can be.

Residents and business owners have until July 18 to examine the changes or comment on what's being proposed.

Essex Mayor Richard Meloche says the proposed changes are to make the by-law more user-friendly, clarity for by-law enforcement, and to deal with issues that have come up since the last update in 2015.

"If there's 15 businesses in a plaza, we don't want all 15 businesses putting up a sign at the roadside," he says." We're going to congregate into one pole sign that's going to have all 15 businesses and this is the size of your sign. Now you figure out with all 15 businesses there, who's going to get what portion of that sign."

Meloche says some issues have come up around electronic signs, specifically along County Road 50.

"We had a business that had, that wanted to use an illuminated sign. Some of the matters regarding the illumination were not built into the previous by-law and now they will be. So setting out how bright a sign can be," he says.

Meloche says signs can have a negative impact on a street through unrestricted signage and cluttering.

"A sign by-law helps with community image. So you've got every property owner and business contributing to the overall image of the street through their signage," he adds.

The town last updated its sign by-law in 2015.

A report on he proposed changes was presented during a special meeting of Council on July 4, with a vote on changing the by-law set for the July 18 meeting of Council.

Click here to find the complete report detailing the propsed changes to the sign by-law in Essex.