Business owners will be permitted to display up to four seasonal
banners throughout the year, following passage of an ordinance
Tuesday by the Mequon Common Council.
Described in the past as “visual clutter” by some members of the
community, city officials have gone through several iterations of an
ordinance that regulates when and where banner signs can be placed
on the exteriors of buildings.
Regulating banners was first discussed in April at a meeting of the
city’s public welfare committee. In succeeding months, that
committee, as well as the planning commission, continued its debate
over banner placements. Four versions of the ordinance have been
A number of stipulations are included in the ordinance. For example,
all seasonal banners must be at least 30 feet apart from one
“The spacing requirement, coupled with the more limited time frame, should assist to
reduce the visual clutter and create a consistent rhythm to the
placement,” said Kimberly Tollefson, director of community
development. “The clutter was the source of the complaints this
past holiday season.”
Another change is the permissible time
length a banner can be displayed during the holiday season. In
the past, business owners had up to eight weeks to have a banner
on display. That window of opportunity has now been whittled
down to 5 1/2 weeks.
The new requirements say banners can be
displayed during the holiday season, one week prior to
Thanksgiving through Jan. 2 of the following year.
Business owners also will be assessed a
permit fee to display the signs.
While the controls have been tightened, city
officials are attempting to mitigate the restrictions with more
opportunity. Business owners will now have the opportunity to
display four, rather than three, banners.
When asked how the city would communicate
the changes to business owners, Tollefson said efforts will be
made to alert everyone. The city is working closely with the
Mequon-Thiensville Chamber of Commerce as well.
While the council’s vote to move forward on
the banner ordinance was approved unanimously, several members
expressed concerns, particularly with the upcoming holiday
“I don’t feel the business community has had
an opportunity to understand this,” Alderman Robert Strzelczyk
Citing shop local campaigns and similar
initiatives, Strzelczyk said he would like the city to do all it
can to promote local business growth within the community.
Strzelczyk said 67 cents of every local shopkeeper’s dollar goes
directly back into the community.
But from an aesthetic standpoint, Strzelczyk
said he would like greater enforcement to ensure the banners
remain in high quality condition. He suggested language
eventually be added into the city’s sign code.
“The quality of the signs in Mequon is
critical to the overall quality of the community,” Strzelczyk
said. “As it stands, (a business owner) can put a tattered
banner up, and we have no enforcement capabilities.”
That same issue was raised the night before,
when the city’s planning commission discussed banners.
“I really don’t want Mequon to be known as
the city of sagging banners,” said planning commission member
(Gary Achterberg contributed to this story.)