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Sign Code


Part of the mission of the Greater Flagstaff Chamber of Commerce is being an advocate for community and economic development in our region. Community improvement and economic growth come from a thriving business environment; when our local businesses are able to grow their bottom line they are able to hire new employees and reinvest in our city. But to be able to do that good public policy needs to be in place that gives our businesses the tools and the freedom to grow their trade.

A significant way we can strengthen Flagstaff is by improving our city’s sign code to better reflect the needs of an economy in recovery. A study prepared by the University of Cincinnati and the Signage Foundation found that if a business chooses to use advertising signage to promote themselves it can help improve sales by as much as 10% and can even lead to small positive impacts on employment at those businesses. For Flagstaff businesses a 10% increase in business could contribute major dividends to strengthening our community.

Unfortunately, many of our city’s business owners and operators have felt that Flagstaff has too stringent of a regulation on signs, leading some to not bother with a significant investment in promotional signage due to penalties that are too high, permits that cost more than the signs themselves, and a permit application process that is too cumbersome.

Between April 8th and April 14th of 2014, we conducted a survey among the Chamber member businesses to gauge their opinions on the city’s current sign regulations. The results were not surprising. Over 67% of respondents indicated that they felt the current code was too complicated. Only 15% said they had an above average opinion of the current regulations. Over 54% agreed that their business would benefit from a de-regulated code on temporary A-Frame (sandwich board) signs. Click here to view the full survey results. Thank you to each business that made time to provide feedback!

At the April 15, 2014 meeting, Chamber staff went before the Flagstaff City Council to present the results of this survey to members of council and city staff, and advocated for a less burdensome and de-regulated sign code to promote a stronger business environment and robust economy.

Next Steps:

At the April 15, 2014 meeting, the city council began discussion on what changes they would like to see made in the sign code, and will continue the debate at a future meeting, yet to be determined. The Chamber will continue to monitor the issue and advocate for a balanced change to the code that would:

- Respect our dark sky ordinance
- Allow for directional way-finding/off-premise signs
- Rescind permit requirement for indoor & inside window signage
- Give businesses an incentive to replace free-standing/old signage without fees or reapplication
- Allow A-Frame signs without a permitting process so long as their use conforms to a set standard
- Adopt stricter guidelines for the use of vertical banners

Update: At a special session of the city council on May 12th to discuss sign code reform, advancements were made in the following areas:

- A-Frame sign simplification
- Monument sign replacement incentives
- Eliminating requirement for a permit to place a sign in a window

Council will need further deliberation on:

- Allowing building-mounted signs to face the interstate
- Increasing the amount of free standing signs a business can have


Council Watch:

Additional Material:

City Council April 15 Agenda

City staff report on sign regulations

Current city sign standards

Chamber survey on sign code (presented to council)

The Economic Value of On-Premise Signage

The Signage Foundation

Arizona Daily Sun: Flagstaff sign code in need of some tweaks