Red tape removed from sign push

Published 7:31 am Saturday, August 22, 2015

There have long been complaints from business owners and managers that simply applying for a sign in St. John the Baptist Parish was unnecessarily burdensome.

Thankfully, the Parish Council — with the help of the Planning & Zoning Department — approved a new ordinance this month cutting some red tape out of the process.  Developers and business owners no longer need a permit to put up temporary signs announcing improvement of real estate, coming soon announcements or advertising future subdivision development.

Business owners must make sure their sign meets proper size requirements. Construction signs cannot exceed 64 square feet and coming-soon signs cannot exceed 32 square feet.

The measure passed Parish Council vote last week by a 6-3 margin as a few elected leaders voiced concerns the ordinance needed more teeth.

Councilwomen Cheryl Millet was most vocal throughout the process, stressing that without limits set capping the time a temporary sign can be displayed, people will put up signs with no purpose and the parish will have no way to get them down.

More troubling were assertions Councilman Larry Snyder made that specific requests he made of the Planning & Zoning Department were ignored.

“I asked the director of zoning and development to put a number on temporary, and I didn’t get that,” he said. “I asked why one sign is larger than the other sign, and I didn’t get an answer on that.”

Snyder stressed in government that initiatives without a time limit are destined to fail. The same could be said about business.

Snyder’s attempts to gain specifics were mirrored somewhat this week when requests by L’OBSERVATEUR staff to set up an interview with a member of the Planning & Zoning Department were unmet.

St. John the Baptist Parish definitely took a giant step forward with this month’s ordinance eliminating red tape in the sign placement process. However, had a couple more items suggested by Parish Council members been addressed, a good thing could have been even better.