Planning Commission. Signs in other areas were subject to Design
Review Board approval. The revised ordinance permits staff to approve
signs that take up half or less of the maximum allowable size.
"It is phenomenal what the Planning Commission has come up with,"
said Mayor Wayne Baglin. "The time spent crafting it was worth it.
And I am glad the chamber got involved."
The last major revision was made in 1991.
"Laguna Beach already had the best signs in Orange County, if not
Southern California," said chamber spokesman Tom Ahern, owner of
Latitude 22 books. "But times have changed since the sign ordinance
was last rewritten."
"I am happy with just about everything except the application
process. It is cumbersome and most people ignore it. I estimate that
less than 1/6of signs downtown and a 10th of the signs outside
downtown have gone through the required process."
Ahern said he would have preferred administrative approval of
virtually all signs, to be applied for over the counter and approved
within two days.
"All signs going to administrative approval scares everyone," said
Planning Commissioner Norm Grossman. "The revised ordinance is a
simple way to get the process started."
The council approved a one-year test of the proposed application
"I tend to think what we (the commission) approved is the way to
go," said commission chair Kimberly Stuart.
However, the council balked at the commission's proposed ban on
all neon signs inside or outside buildings, preferring case-by-case
hearings on applications for interior signs. All exterior neon signs
were banned in the early 1990s.
Businesses with existing interior neon signs that conflict with
the city regulations will have 60 days to conform. Window signs must
conform within 120 days. An extension of the amortization period can
The council also tweaked requirements for parking lot signs. They
will be required to include fees and the police department business
telephone number for information about missing or damaged vehicles.
"I want to know how much I am going to have to pay before I park,"
Councilwoman Cheryl Kinsman said.