Sign bylaw challenged
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Feb 05, 2014  |  Vote 0    0

Sign bylaw challenged

Stratford Gazette

Chet Greason

There may be changes coming to Stratford’s sign bylaw based on the reaction from the Planning and Heritage subcommittee to a delegation on Thursday, Jan. 30.

Marceline Venkataramani, owner of the Quiznos Subs on Ontario Street, submitted a letter to the mayor and city council politely requesting a revision after an A-sign, or sandwich board, was removed from the front of her business by a bylaw officer in the summer.

“While we respect the existing bylaw and the due diligence of the bylaw enforcement officer to ensure that we obey the bylaw, we humbly request that the Respected City

Council revisit this bylaw and consider amending so that it will allow other businesses outside the downtown to be eligible to have A-signs,” reads Venkataramani’s letter.

She elaborated in her presentation to the subcommittee.

“That A-sign was very important to my store. It brings more customers in by letting them know what we’re selling.”

She added her restaurant has noticed a visible drop in sales since the sign was removed.

The subcommittee appeared overwhelmingly in support of Venkataramani’s request, and asked for more information about the bylaw from manager of development services Jeff Leunissen.

“My understanding is it was made to stem the proliferation of portable, mobile signs,” he explained, clarifying only businesses in the downtown are able to have A-signs in front of their shops due to a different set of rules laid out in the Heritage Conservation District legislation.

Leunissen asked for more time to compile a report detailing the initial reasoning behind the current sign bylaw. He said he expects to present the report at the next subcommittee meeting, at which point a recommendation could be made and passed along to council.

The sidewalk sign issue previously came up in 2007 when a business owner outside of the downtown requested a similar bylaw amendment. At that time, the decision was made, after a lengthy debate, not to alter the bylaw and to continue enforcement on a complaint basis only.

This time around, there doesn’t appear to be any arguments against the idea. Coun. Paul Nickel assured Venkataramani “We’re trying to move as quickly as possible for you.”

“And thank you for running a business in Stratford,” added Coun. Martin Ritsma.

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