Vol 6 No. 28 - April 5, 2006

Crackdown on signage begins
ByTom Vaught
sun staff writer

BRADENTON BEACH – There will likely be fewer signs along city streets by the end of the week and a lot more in a temporary storage facility.

The Bradenton Beach Building Department began enforcing the city’s new sign code Monday by pulling signs that were placed in the right of way.

Code enforcement officer Jerry Rathvon and code enforcement technician Gail Garneau started removing the signs at the south end of the city in the morning. The plan was to go after signs encroaching into the right of way, a violation of the new code, followed by signs placed within five feet of the lot boundary, another violation of the code. Finally, the city will crack down on signs that have no permits as required for the first time.

Under the new code, which was amended by ordinance Oct. 20, 2005, all signs must have a permit initially costing $50 with a $25 annual renewal fee. Existing signs this year will cost $25 because the city is pro-rating the annual fee to the end of the fiscal year. Owners of signs seized by the city will have to pay $35 to get them back plus the cost of a permit.

Owners of signs who get permits receive either a sticker for temporary signs, such as real estate sales or rentals, or a metal tag to be attached to permanent signs such as for stores or resorts.

Bradenton Beach code enforcement technician Gail Garneau removes the first of many signs from the right of way Monday.

Building official Ed McAdam mailed a notice to real estate brokers and property managers on March 17 urging them to get permits. He said response has been steady, but there are still real estate signs out there without stickers.

The first sign removed by Rathbon and Garneau was a "For sale by owner" sign at a property on the corner of 13th Street South and Gulf Drive.

One developer reacted negatively to the enforcement, hand delivering a letter to McAdam regarding a project under construction.

Reed Mapes said the property was a construction site and that trespassing on the site is a third-degree felony. He warned that he would prosecute anybody entering the site to remove signs.

McAdam said it is within the city’s jurisdiction to remove the signs from private property if they don’t have permits. He said that owners of existing permanent signs that are in violation of the setback or size provisions of the code have five years to correct the problem.

Mapes e-mailed a copy of the letter to The Sun and in his cover letter he said, "The city continues to bully its citizens and take peoples’ property without due process and without paying for that property if it is being taken for the public good."
His partner called later to say he would be in to purchase permits for the property, according to McAdam.

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