Expect to begin seeing smaller real estate signs, campaign yard signs.
New rules limiting the number and size of temporary signs went into effect Jan. 9, and their immediate effect will likely be seen in real estate offerings and in the Town Commission campaign.
The town adopted the rules during the summer in response to a 2015 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that banned the regulation of signs based on content, Commissioner Ken Schneier said.
“After many tries, Longboat Key settled on an approach that reduced the number and size of all temporary signs,” Schneier said. “A small exception was carved out for an extra sign on a property when it is actively for sale or rent, but the size of those real estate signs is still much smaller than we previously allowed.”
Two types of temporary signs with separate size requirements are now allowed on the Key.
- One 1-square-foot-sized sign can be on a property at any time for a period not to exceed six months.
- One 3-square-foot sign will be allowed only when the property is being offered for sale, rent or lease, though because of the high court ruling, it doesn't necessarily have to pertain to real estate. A 1-square-foot rider (think: SOLD or POOL HOME) can be attached to the sign. Also, temporary signs no longer require a permit from the town. Previously, a real estate sign was typically larger.
“The town’s enforcement efforts overall are always geared toward education and voluntary compliance and we anticipate a transition period where we’ll be emphasizing education, to be fully aware of the revised requirements,” Planning Director Allen Parsons said, explaining how the town will enforce the new sign law.
Previously, Longboat regulated real estate signs differently than election, yard sale, or missing pet signs. Anna Maria, Bradenton Beach and Sarasota allow signs larger than 3 square feet.
“There was some resistance to this from the real estate community, as it will require them to design new, smaller signs for Longboat Key only; while some of us on the Commission were sympathetic to this view, the "small signs for everyone" rule prevailed,” he said.
Yard signs promoting political candidates will have to meet the new rules. A 1-square foot sign is smaller than sizes typically used for political promotion, immediately affecting Randy Langley and Mike Haycock, both of whom are running for the commission at-large seat now held by Commissioner Jim Brown.
Langley said he's ordering new signs in the new size, but not just because of the rule change.
"I have to," he said. "The old ones said District 5."
Roger Pettingell, a Realtor with Coldwell Banker in Longboat Key, said real estate signs have become less important in the overall marketing of property.
“I don’t think the new sign ordinance will make any difference to our business,” he said. “Many of our sellers live in places where signs are not allowed at all, including most condominium communities and single-family homes in Bay Isles. More often than not, potential buyers are doing their searches on line, and signs only provide an announcement of the property to the neighbors. I actually think that signs can be confusing to the consumer. Some are for rentals, some are for homes for sale and some are for contractors doing work at a property.”