Delafield council denies proposed ordinance to regulate sandwich boards

By Karen Pilarski - Freeman Staff

Dec. 11, 2015

DELAFIELD - The Common Council denied a proposed ordinance regarding the regulation of sandwich boards on Monday during its meeting.

Alderman Kent Attwell voted against the proposal. Attwell said he thinks it is essential that people think of the city as a whole and not just fragmented areas.

“I voted against the ordinance change because it was written to only allow sandwich board signs in the Central Downtown Business Districts 1,2 and 3 downtown zoning districts,” he said.

The ordinance that was presented didn’t include  the Highway 83/Golf Road and Hillside intersections. Sandwich board signs are allowed in all city zoning districts. Attwell requested that this be sent back to the Plan Commission with the purpose of rewriting the ordinance to allow sandwich board signs in all city districts as the previous ordinance allowed. However, he indicated he would support the newly recommended changes on design and enforcement.

“There is a need for language clarification related to the statement that used the word ‘permit’ when discussing the revocation of display privilege after 2 violations,” said Mayor Michele DeYoe. She said they don’t grant “permits” specifically for sandwich signs, it is part of the business plan of operation process.

Public concerns

There have been two public hearings with 2 speakers regarding the sandwich board issue. DeYoe has heard complaints of the signs being left out overnight, poor materials, signs blocking the sidewalk, signs blowing over and in the right-of-way. She said they will address this at the January Plan Commission meeting.

Attwell said there has been very little public comment from businesses or citizens on this topic at Plan Commission or Common Council meetings over the last 3 months.

DeYoe directed City Administrator Tom Hafner to have all the sandwich board signs in the downtown business districts gathered a few weeks back by the Fire Department. These were signs that were not brought in overnight, which was in violation of the current ordinance.

“Per the city’s public works foreman, 2 weeks after these sandwich board signs were picked up, less than half the downtown business had taken the time to retrieve them,” said Attwell.

Alderman Tim Aicher said there was no sense of urgency on this matter. He said the main issue is non-compliance with the existing ordinance and having several complaints about signs being left out 24/7.

“These were addressed already by directing our city planner, Roger Dupler, to act as our enforcer/educator along with Tom Hafner’s follow-up for businesses that were not in compliance,” said Aicher.  

Aicher said the only other issue was that the city does have a requirement in the current and proposed ordinance. It states that businesses using sandwich board signs in the public right-of-way must protect the city and name it as co-insured on their liability insurance. “This is to safeguard taxpayers from potential exposure due to an incident with a sign,” said Aicher. He said city staff was asked to put that on the list of enforcement and education items for the businesses that wish to use these signs in the right-of-way.