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Real estate agents seek changes to sign-rule proposals

Length of permits, weekend displays for open houses are the top objections.

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  • | 6:00 a.m. June 21, 2017
Longboat Key is revising its sign code in light of a 2015 U.S. Supreme Court decision prohibiting sign regulations based on content.
Longboat Key is revising its sign code in light of a 2015 U.S. Supreme Court decision prohibiting sign regulations based on content.
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Real estate professionals continued arguing for changes in Longboat Key’s proposed new sign regulations this week, objecting mainly to the duration of sign permits and how they can promote open house events.

This year, the town has tackled rewriting its sign codes, largely because of a 2015 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that banned rules based on the content of a sign.

Instead, the town has been working to rewrite its rules, based on the size, location and duration of temporary signs, which promote homes for sale, open houses, candidates for public office, garage sales, construction projects and special events. 

Since the 2015 ruling, Longboat stopped enforcing any content-based rules.  

Members of the real estate industry on Longboat, at a city-run informational event last week, objected to proposals that would allow only two signs on private property, each with a maximum area of 4 square feet. The rules would also prohibit signs on rights of way and require 30-day, renewable permits.

Wendy Leventhal, of Coldwell Banker, on Tuesday spoke of allowing an additional number of signs from noon to 5 p.m. on Sundays, a prime time for open houses. Richard Perlman of Michael Saunders and Co. took issue with 30-day sign permits. The permits come with a $15 fee.

“I just want to make sure you all realize that this 30-day period, that the permit you’re suggesting is good for, is absurd,” Perlman told the board.

Planning and Zoning Board Chairwoman B.J. Bishop said that six months is a more reasonable permit period, but she was uncertain about the prospect of allowing additional signs during specific periods.

“I don’t think too many neighborhoods are excited to have 10 signs sitting on their right of way coming into their neighborhoods,” Bishop said.

The board discussed returning to previously drafted language in the code, which allows for:

  • One 2-square-foot sign at any time.
  • One 4-square-foot sign when a property is for sale.
  • An additional 2-square-foot sign during an open house.

Board members also supported  an additional 1-square-foot “sign rider,” which is a small sign hanging from a larger one, often used by real estate agents to advertise amenities such as swimming pools.

The suggestions from the most recent meeting will be incorporated into a new proposal, which could  be brought before the board in September.



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