SEASIDE – A resolution to the debate over an explosion of banners, flags and sandwich boards in downtown Seaside won’t come right way according to city officials who attended a join work session of the Seaside City Council and Seaside Planning Commission May 15.

The issue has sparked debate and concern with some worried about pedestrian safety and the look of the city and others saying the additional advertising is needed.

David Posalski, owner of Tsunami Sandwich Company, is hopeful the current city ordinance will be changed.

“There needs to be a group that comes together with suggestions to take to the city council to come up with regulations or directions about what should be done. I think it’s pretty clear there is going to be some use of feather flags and some elimination of sandwich boards.

Posalski said the banners and sandwich boards are key attractions for business.

“These signs are a way for businesses to let visitors know where they can go for service,” he said. “This existing ordinance reduces the amount of business that is done in this town, which leads to less jobs, and more crime and need for public funding. Lower the need for more taxes, fees, and public assistance by allowing businesses in this town to thrive by enticing visitors to spend their dollars here.”

Posalski’s father, Mark, also uses the flags in front of his Seaside Coffee Shop and agrees that the banners are vital. He said he is restricted from adding additional signs to his building to advertise, so the flags are his option.

“When you don’t have the flags people don’t know we are open,” he said. “The flags are welcoming. People can see them from 100 yards away and they can tell that we are open.”

Karen Emmerling, owner of Beach Books in downtown Seaside also attended the meeting. She told the Planning Commission in April that the signs flags were critical to side street business.

“It is helpful for people to know that there are businesses down the side streets,” she said. “It’s not apparent that there is much down those side streets and that businesses are open. I find the banners a colorful and helpful edition to the city.”

City Councilor Tita Montero, who sparked the debate about the banners and sandwich boards during a city council session in March, said the joint session between the Council and Seaside Planning Commission produced a good discussion. She would like to see a committee formed of citizens, business operators and others that come up with recommendations about the use of the flags and banner signs.

“I have a problem with every flag giving a different message, every flag hocking something,” Montero said.

Montero is also still concerned about the safety issues surrounding the sandwich boards. She wants the boards eliminated

“We have narrow streets in Seaside,” she said. “People can trip and fall over them.”

Under the city’s current ordinance the sandwich boards are permitted on business property within 10 feet of the front door.

Mark Winstanley, Seaside City Manager told the group that he gets far more complaints about the sandwich boards than about the flags and banners.

“I have handled calls from people who have tripped and fallen over the boards, some of which had been blown down by the wind,” Winstanley said. “The vast majority of the complaints about the sandwich boards come from other businesses.”

Kevin Kupples, Seaside Planning Director, will lead the city’s next step in addressing the concerns about the signs and sandwich boards.

“We will make contact with downtown business owners and representatives from the Seaside Downtown Development Association and The Seaside Chamber of Commerce to flush out proposals for standards for the flags and the sandwich boards in the core area.”

Kupples said there is no timeline with the outreach effort. He told the group that in some cases telling what flag signs and sandwich boards are legal and what isn’t can be confusing because of the way properties are set up in the city.

But city officials admit that enforcement of any regulations may be challenging due to budget limitations.

“We won’t be going up and down the streets looking for violators, but if we get calls, we will go out and take care of it,” said Seaside Mayor Don Larson.

The council and planning commission also heard a presentation from Commission Director Tom Horning concerning light pollution.

But not all those gathered thought it was necessary to take any formal action to restrict lighting in the city.

© 2012 Seaside Signal. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

 

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