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Signs, banners face new restrictions

Costa Mesa ordinance requires permits that are free for now, until City Council adopts a fee.

March 16, 2011|By Sarah Peters, sarah.peters@latimes.com

COSTA MESA — The number of torn and dirty temporary banners hanging from local businesses has spurred new restrictions on temporary signs.

A citywide ordinance that took effect last month requires businesses to secure permits before they can hang banners.

The regulations provide strict limits on banners for commercial, industrial, institutional and residential properties, said Ed Fawcett, Costa Mesa Chamber of Commerce president.

The issue is one of aesthetics, Fawcett said.

"Banners are temporary signs," he said. "Unfortunately, there has been a proliferation of banners used as permanent signs. There has been an effort to clean up the city so that we don't have as large a number of those used as permanent signs."

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In the past, banners could be displayed with no time limits, providing the signs met city standards and were properly maintained, said Claire Flynn, city planning administrator.

Permits can be applied for in person or on the city's website. They will be issued for 60 days for residential, commercial, industrial and institutional properties, or 120 days for residential properties with 100 units or more.

The days can be spread throughout a single calendar year, Fawcett said.

Once the application is approved, a permit will be issued with a decal for the property owners to display on the banner.

The permits are free until the City Council adopts a fee sometime this spring, Flynn said.

"The city is doing this in such a way to make it more easy to get a permit, more easy to track, and not a burden at all on business people," Fawcett said.

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