Small temporary signs or “sandwich boards” would have been allowed in Gardner without permits under a Dec. 7 proposal if displayed for less than two weeks.
The proposed change was tabled by the city council until a code rewrite is completed.
Jason Camis, Gardner Edgerton chamber president said the organization continues to monitor the situation.
“Signage regulations are important to both chamber members and other businesses in the community,” Camis said. “The chamber plans to monitor the situation and when appropriate, advocate for common-sense, flexible standards in the sign ordinance that balance the unique needs of the business community with the overall appearance of the city.”
Until the land development rewrite is presented to the council, the city continues to enforce the current sign ordinance.
“The city is responsible for code enforcement at all times,” said Larry Powell, Gardner’s business and economic development director.  “Currently, banner and sandwich-style temporary signs are not allowed.  City staff is working with its consultant to update the sign section of the code.”
When complete, a presentation to the city council will be made in a work session, and the governing body will make a determination on appropriate action, Powell said.
Last Fall, Gardner’s enforcement of sign ordinances was a matter of discussion at both the planning commission and council.
In October Camis told council members that he had heard from a number of businesses about the recent sign code enforcement.
“This is something that is somewhat unfortunate that the signage thing has come to a head over the last few weeks,” Camis said.
The biggest complaint, he said, is that the sign enforcement seems recent or new.
“They may have not been following the sign ordinance for years, and then all of a sudden,” Camis said.
Enforcement of the city’s sign codes are complaint driven, meaning code inspectors aren’t typically out looking for violations. In October, 2015, the city had issued 19 violation notices to 13 Gardner businesses. Two businesses were cited and sent to municipal court for violating the city’s sign regulations.
Powell told council members during a Oct. 5 meeting that in most cases, the business owners voluntary bring their signs into compliance with city code by removing it or by applying for a temporary sign permit.
Under the suggested change, regulatory distinctions would have been based on sign type (freestanding or wall), not the sign message. Total combined display time for all temporary signs on a lot would have increased to 90 days per calendar year per lot; the previous ordinance only allowed for 30 days. The additional 60 days better accommodates seasonal promotions, according to the council action form.