Thoughts on Signs & Graphics

Sign Ordinances and Blank Signs

In Easthampton, Massachusetts, business owners are hoppin' mad about their sign ordinances.

You see, Easthampton's Building Commissioner told 30 businesses last November that they were not complying with the city's sign zoning laws. For a good many of them, it was their sandwich (or A-frame) signs that got the owners a talkin' to by Joe the Commissioner.

The sandwich signs were often the third sign for many of the owners--a no-no in a city that allows a total of two signs per business, or four signs if they get a special permit. As a protest to the ordinances, the owner of the Manhan Café kept his two sandwich signs, and turned his third sign--the one on his building--around so that it's now just a blank board on a brick wall.

What does this have to do with Vermont? Plenty. We have sign ordinances, too, and their limitations often irritate business owners. We field many questions about what is allowed in a particular town or city.

"Can I have an A-frame?" Yes, if you're in Burlington. But in South Burlington, you can use an A-frame one week per month, or two weeks every two months and only with a permit. 

Did you know that Johnson does not have sign ordinances at all (you must comply with the state's sign codes in Johnson)? This is often the case in our smaller towns, but don't make that assumption. Berlin, small as it is, has strict sign ordinances.

It goes without saying, but I'll say it anyway: Check with the planning and zoning office at your town or city hall. Get a copy of the sign code. Ask questions and submit a properly prepared permit form.

Or you may find yourself so annoyed that you install your building sign backwards as a statement of irritation to your town planners.

Don't do that, though. The old maxim, 'business with no sign, is a sign of no business,' would never be truer.

Brrrr...It's Cold Outside

Yikes! The thermometer registers 26 degrees this morning and frost on my car window does little to deny that winter is a comin'. My neighbors have been raking their lawns for weeks, composting the leaves while putting their gardens and perennial beds to rest. They've removed air conditioners from bedroom windows and covered lawn furniture. Hot cocoa is starting to taste refreshing.

This is the north country settling in for a cold winter. The Farmer's Almanac, with the wisdom of 100 years of predictions, says that we're in for a cold winter with less snow in the north, and more than enough snow in the southern New England region.

All a lot of people can think of is how business dips along with the drop in temperature.

Here's my announcement: Sign production is a 4-season activity. Garages hold your vehicles for wrapping, backhoes dig holes for your sign posts (if that's even needed--the ground doesn't always freeze beyond the first few inches even in the coldest winter months), and glass can be warmed for your window graphic application.

You could even say that winter is just a frame of mind. Well....

Read more: Brrrr...It's Cold Outside

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