New Enforcement Efforts for Signs and Outdoor Displays

Earlier this year City Council received a presentation regarding the implementation of a “City Wide” Code Enforcement program tailored to address specific code violations that significantly detract from the overall appearance of the City. Issues identified include illegal A-Frame signs, banners, pole banners (aka “feather banners”), window signage, outdoor displays, vehicle signs, commercial boat storage and outdoor storage. Most of the discussion centered around the New Sign Ordinance adopted by Council last year and the effort to begin enforcing the new requirements.  The requirements include revisions to the definitions, procedures, and design standards for signs, as well as the addition of incentives to allow increased sign area, regulation of electronic changeable copy to allow for modern technologies, and the elimination of portable freestanding signs to reduce sign clutter. Revisions to performance standards for outdoor displays involve reducing outdoor display area, regulating outdoor vending machines and prohibiting mannequins.

Public Outreach & Communication
Since the initial public meeting in January the City Council has reaffirmed enforcement efforts by ensuring the program is focused on fainess and equity across the community.  Through City E-blasts, Grizzly newspaper ads, on-air announcements on our local KBHR 93.3 FM as well as a posting on the City’s own website regarding the enforcement program the goal of public awareness, outreach, communication and education has continued to be the City’s focus.  An attractive and cohesive community attracts business, and by keeping people throughout the City informed the hope is to continue to accomplish improved local economic health.

The City continued its enforcement efforts throughout the month of March by presenting information about the program at the Big Bear Association of Realtor’s monthly meeting, taping a segment that has aired several times on KBHR 93.3 FM, mailing out over 500 brochures to local businesses and flyers in the Chamber of Commerce Newsletter, as well as appearing on Big Bear Lake Channel 6’s morning show to discuss the enforcement program.

All of these awareness efforts have been in preparation of the enforcement activities beginning April 15th.  Enforcement will be “City Wide”, and will address each of the illegal signage and property use issues as listed above.  If non-compliant issues are identified, business contacts will have the opportunity to work with the Planning Department prior to the May 16th re-inspections.  Additionally, enforcement efforts will continue through the summer with meetings with City departments to gain compliance.

Why now?
Over the years, both the Council and Planning Commission have received a great deal of feedback on the look and appearance of signs, A-frames and outdoor displays/wares for sale outside the businesses in the community. Many examples of these can be seen as you drive down Big Bear Blvd, and in many cases, add to clutter and unsightliness. In efforts to address concerns regarding these issues, as well as balance the needs of our local businesses to market their goods & services, much thought and careful consideration has gone into crafting the new requirements. This was no small feat. Over 15 public meetings and workshops have been held to receive comments on the amended guidelines and requirements for signs and outdoor displays. Those meetings were conducted at both City Council and Planning Commission levels. The Commission, in particular, was instrumental in vetting the new requirements with the public and staff.

Here to Help
We are here to help! Do you have questions or need more detailed info on enforcement efforts underway? Local business owners are encouraged to contact Phil Mosley, Director of Community Services in the Code Compliance Division at (909) 866-5831. Need info about the new Sign and Outdoor Display Ordinance or specific guidelines/examples of what meets the new standards? Contact our Planning Division at (909) 866-5831.

The City of Big Bear Lake is a four-season resort located in the heart of the San Bernardino National Forest, approximately 30 miles northeast of San Bernardino.  The City serves a population of 5,400 residents and covers a 6.95 square mile area on the west end of Big Bear Lake’s south shore.  Recreation is offered year-round, including skiing, boating, fishing, camping, hiking, golf and fine dining.  Visit us at www.citybigbearlake.com 

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