Scottsdale approves new rules for signs of the times

A new sign ordinance in the city of Scottsdale passed on May 23. (File Photo)

A new temporary and semi-permanent sign ordinance was approved by Scottsdale City Council without a hitch Tuesday, May 23.

The new sign ordinance, which created public outcry by local Realtors and stakeholders in March, unanimously passed city council with a 7-0 vote and no public comment was offered on the issue.

The item was originally slated for the March 21 city council agenda, before hundreds of emails flooded the in-boxes of elected leaders, prompting City Manager Jim Thompson to withdraw the item.

City Planner Andrew Chi presented May 23 at City Hall the changes made in order to be better aligned with other municipalities.

“The public and stakeholders did have concerns on an early draft of the temporary sign ordinance,” Mr. Chi explained to city council.

“Staff has worked with Realtors and stakeholders to modify the ordinance to accommodate community input based on all that community input received, the changes were incorporated into the current draft amendment that is before you tonight.”

The ultimate goal of the new sign ordinance is to establish a more contemporary and user-friendly sign ordinance, Mr. Chi says. One new aspect of the ordinance is portable signs will be permitted in outdoor strip malls now.

The previous temporary and semi-permanent sign ordinance contained 17 different sign types, including sale, lease and rent signs; campaign signs; window sings; and grand opening banners, known as A-frame signs were prohibited.

“This is one of the reasons why we are here tonight, to simplify the ordinance into a more user-friendly code,” Mr. Chi said.

The approved ordinance consolidated the myriad sign types into five categories: post and panel signs, portable signs, banner signs, window sings and a newly added yard-signs category.

Moreover, the text removes the special event sign regulations from the zoning ordinance, which is now a separate code amendment incorporating new provisions for special event signage into the city’s revised code.

“This will assist in achieving a more simplified zoning ordinance and also to achieve a time, manner and place regulation,” Mr. Chi explained. “The proposed sign types are regulated by zoning district and street frontages, rather than the content.”

A permanent signs ordinance amendment is set to be go before city council July 5.

Northeast Valley News Editor Melissa Rosequist can be e-mailed at or can be followed on Twitter at

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