Yorba Linda zoning code revision focuses on temporary signs that often irk city residents
Revisions to a chapter in Yorba Linda's zoning code regarding signage are in the works, with new provisions focusing on clutter caused by temporary signs along roadways that irks many city residents.
The newly drafted section was discussed at a recent Planning Commission session, but any changes would come before future public hearings held by the commission and City Council.
Signage has been a contentious issue in the city ever since tough restrictions were adopted by the council in 1972 and strengthened in 1974. These initial rules for business signs were loosened over the years as new land was annexed and additional shopping areas developed.
Lately, however, citizen concerns have been expressed about temporary signs, and a city survey found that 22 of the county's 34 cities prohibit any signs in the public rights-of-way.
Primary goals of the revised regulations are to comply with a 2015 Supreme Court decision, “reduce clutter from temporary signs” and establish rules “simple to understand and to enforce,” Community Development Director David Brantley reported to commissioners.
Revisions would prohibit signage in public rights-of-way, “with exceptions allowed for non-commercial speech” – such as election and not-for-profit signs – “and real estate signage.” Brantley noted “a compelling government interest in allowing these types of signs....”
Non-commercial signs would have to be removed within five days of the event, and real estate directional signs are allowed only Friday through Sunday, from sunrise to sunset.
One key change would involve removal procedures for illegally placed signs in public rights-of-way. Currently, the city Community Preservation Division must notify the sign's owner 72 hours in advance by certified mail prior to removal, with the owner allowed to appeal.
The revised process would eliminate the advance notice and allow division employees “to summarily remove any illegally placed sign in the public right-of-way.” Owners of removed signs would still be allowed to retrieve them.
This is a noteworthy change, since candidates frequently ignore several of the rules regarding the size and placement of roadside campaign signs, even though copies of the rules are given council candidates when they file papers to run for office.
And in response to complaints from business owners, the proposed revisions would permit “grand opening” banners to be displayed for 45 days instead of the current 30 days. Rules for other special event banners are outlined in the draft document.
Stakeholders involved in drafting the revisions were Susan Wan-Ross, executive director of the Chamber of Commerce, and Phil Hawkins, CEO of Pacific West Association of Realtors.
In a letter to commissioners, Yorba Linda resident Hawkins noted support for a “reasonable ordinance” allowing agents to advertise open houses “while also prohibiting excessive sign blight in the community.”