BRADENTON -- While the Village of the Arts continues to make vast improvements, many visitors, including Bradenton Mayor Wayne Poston, say it can sometimes be confusing to determine what galleries are open on any given day.
In an attempt to alleviate confusion and enhance visibility of businesses not right on or near 12th Street West, often considered the main drag of the village, city staff and village residents have been working on a viable sign solution.
Some business owners created their own "Open" signs using illegal wind signs and, when confronted by city officials, raised concerns about how to legally draw attention to their business operations.
It's been a primary point of discussion in ongoing ad hoc committee meetings on expanding overlay district borders to 14th Street West.
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Tim Polk, director of planning and community development, said a sign amendment is the first step to be taken as part of the expansion process.
Polk said the city agreed to allow continued use of wind signs until the form base code for the village was amended. He said it was a joint cooperative effort between the city and the village.
"This isn't one of the things we did for them," said Polk. "They did it with us so they would have some say. A lot of the language we are using is their language and that's the whole idea to have community input."
The updated language adds an entire section addressing signs in the village.
Home businesses can have window or hanging facades not to exceed 6 square feet and a ground sign not to exceed 12 square feet. Ground signs must be low profile with a maximum height of 72 inches, and hanging signs must be at least 9 feet in the air and attached to a fixed structure. Signs may hang over sidewalks for better visibility, but not stretch out over the roadways.
Each home business is allowed one ground sign with the exception of corner lots, which can locate signs on each road the lot intersects. The city input was to create uniformity so each sign must contain the word "Open" and the Village of the Arts logo on at least 10 percent of the sign.
Business owners are encouraged to use their artistic talents to create their signs, which must be approved by city staff.
The amendment is designed to address specific concerns from village business owners who have stated the need for additional signage to enhance business operations and increase district identification and branding, according to City Clerk Carl Callahan.
On Wednesday, the Bradenton City Council unanimously approved the proposed amendment, which will come up for a second public hearing and final approval Nov. 14.
Mark Young, Herald urban affairs reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7041 or follow him on Twitter @urbanmark2014.