Murrieta City Council approved an ordinance changing a number of signage regulations in the city Tuesday, Sept. 19.
Commercial developments with a single tenant will be allowed to have 8-foot monument signs, and developments with multiple tenants will be allowed to have 10-foot monument signs. Currently, all commercial developments are limited to 6-foot signs.
Businesses will only be allowed to display temporary signs for five months out of the year, and only for events.
The city will now allow 50-foot pylon signs for advertising commercial developments along freeways. On city streets, 25-foot pylon signs will be permitted.
Also, limits on the size of freeway frontage signs, such as those advertising land for sale, will increase from 96 square feet to 320 square feet.
Perhaps the biggest change is that the city will now allow one digital display on one freestanding sign per commercial development, which is may occupy no more than 20 percent of the sign’s area.
Some residents voiced opposition to the new changes.
Murrieta resident Barbara Nugent was concerned about allowing digital signs.
“The citizens don’t want that,” Nugent said. “The citizens aren’t here because this hasn’t become an issue for them.”
She urged council members to consider what she said are the wishes of residents and taxpayers, rather than businesses.
“I don’t like the huge signs,” she said. “I think they’re ugly.”
Councilman Kelly Seyarto disputed the idea that the city council was not considering the needs of city residents.
“If this weren’t about our residents, then we wouldn’t be having a conversation, because we would just be saying, do whatever you want,” Seyarto said. “This is all about the residents. And this is all about trying to find a compromise.”
After some debate on specifics, Mayor Rick Gibbs asked the council to move forward with a decision.
“If we think that we’re going to make a vote tonight and we get everything right, we’re wrong,” Gibbs said. “If we do nothing, we’re wrong. If we make major changes, we are wrong, because we’ll be doing the engineering from the dais. My recommendation is, make whatever changes you feel are appropriate, but for the most part, go with the recommendations of staff.”
Gibbs said the council can always make changes as necessary if it finds specific aspects of the new ordinance don’t work.
“But if we just keep kicking the can down the street,” Gibbs said, “it will never happen.”
Councilman Randon Lane questioned how the city would enforce the limits on temporary signs, but ultimately moved the ordinance forward, with the request that city staff bring back the issue of temporary signs for further discussion “expeditiously.”