Mayor Ignacio Velazquez requested the council review aspects of the sign ordinance after the city recently forced a local business to remove its neon sign.
This came weeks after a social media uproar over city questions about the new “HOLLISTER” mural painted on the mayor’s own building downtown at Fifth and San Benito streets.
“What I’d like to do is see if we can suspend that and also have a special meeting and invite business owners in the downtown area to speak to us and listen to them directly,” Velazquez told the city manager, who said he would place the item on the next meeting agenda.
“I think there’s a lot of frustration out there,” Velazquez added.
The city’s sign ordinance has a multitude of restrictions for businesses, including the prohibition of neon signs in the downtown district.
Ohana Shave Ice recently learned that the hard way when the city’s code enforcement division gave the business at 738 San Benito St. a notice requiring removal of the sign – prompting criticism by co-owner Karina Hernandez on social media and a subsequent backlash against the city’s action.
That prompted the request by Velazquez. It also came two weeks after the mayor became openly irritated at a council meeting when the city manager brought up questions over the sign issue, apparently alluding to Velazquez’s own “HOLLISTER” mural. That topic wasn’t on the August meeting agenda, and officials are required by state law to agendize any items up for discussion. State law also requires the mayor to recuse himself from any discussion or action related to his property.
This time around, Velazquez briefly offered his views on the subject while requesting an agenda topic at the next meeting set for Sept. 17.
On Wednesday, Velazquez expanded on the topic in an interview with San Benito Live. He said nobody comes to downtown Hollister because it lacks neon signs.
“Let’s focus on trying to do things that bring business to business owners,” he said. “This is something that’s been a pet peeve of mine for a while. Why in the world are we talking about neon signs?”
Prohibited Signs in the City Municipal Code
17.20.060 Prohibited signs.
A. The following signs are prohibited:
- Canvas signs, excluding awning signs, banners, pennants, flags, streamers, balloons, or other temporary or wind signs except as otherwise provided in sections entitled Exempt Signs, On-Site Sign Regulations, and Off-Site Sign Regulations of this chapter.
- Mobile, A-frame and portable signs except as permitted on private property (see Section 17.20.050, Exempt Signs).
- Roof or canopy signs extending above a building roof, except that with approval of a Master Sign Plan, a wall sign may be architecturally integrated into a sloping roof fascia or mansard roof.
- Signs that resemble any official marker erected by the city, state, or any governmental agency, or that by reason of position, shape, color, or illumination would conflict with the proper functioning of any traffic sign or signal or would be a hazard to pedestrian or vehicular traffic.
- Signs which produce odor, sound, smoke, fire, or other such emissions.
Quality Code Data 4/20/2018, Page 962
- Animated signs, flashing signs, moving signs, or rotating signs except as otherwise allowed in this chapter.
- Window signs that exceed twenty-five percent (25%) of the visible window glass panel area of a window in the Airport, Airport Support, General Commercial, Commercial Office, Downtown Commercial Mixed Use, Gateway Commercial, or Industrial District and commercial buildings or commercial portion of a building in the West Gateway and Mixed Use Zoning Districts. Window signs are prohibited in the Residential and Home Office Zoning Districts.
- Off-site advertising signs except as provided for in the section entitled Master Sign Program.
- Signs advertising commercial uses, child care homes, day care homes, residential care facilities, and similar uses on sites where the principal use is a residential dwelling unit unless otherwise al- lowed in this title or in accordance with State law.
- Signs affixed to trees, shrubs, utility poles, traffic control devices, and the like.
- Signs on any floor above the first floor unless approved by the Planning Commission or pursuant to adopted sign standards.
- Abandoned signs.
- Multi-faced signs of more than two surface areas of signage.
- Neon signs in the Residential, Home Office and Downtown Commercial Mixed Use Zoning Districts.