Are Pole Signs Permissible in Your City?

05-07-2014

“Most business owners aren’t aware of the city’s permit restrictions regarding their signage.”

If you’ve ever seen a picture of Main Street Ventura from the mid-1900’s, you’ll notice signs that project out over the street on every business, demanding attention for every café, drugstore, and general store you’d pass by. Many of these were pole signs, which stood out on the edge of the sidewalk, atop a pole, inviting anyone who passed by to come into the business.

“With over twenty years of Planning Board, Zoning Board, and Design Review Board appearances throughout the Ventura County Area, we have the knowledge necessary to assist you in the permit and/or variance process.”

Brilliant, right? In fact, why would any business miss the opportunity to place a sign out on the sidewalk, where everyone driving by can see it? The answer is simple. In the late 1970’s, early 80’s, the many municipalities, including Ventura, opted to eliminate this option and wouldn’t give permits for any new pole signs to be mounted, or for existing pole signs to be changed by new business owners. The trend changed to smaller, more elegant signs. Today very few pole signs remain, and those that do exist under very specific rules. 

“When we put up a sign, we intend for it to stay up, and feature the business for years to come.”

These signs must reflect the message of the original sign. If the sign in the olden days said “Denny’s,” that’s what it has to say today. And if there was no sign there, and a business wants a pole sign, then it’s relegated to a minimum of three feet from any property line and a minimum of ten feet from the face of any curb line. It cannot extend over a public right-of-way and it should be in a planter. 

So, why are there still some pole signs left standing? Those that remain have been allowed variances because they continue to maintain Ventura’s historic feel, and remind us of a day that Ventura’s sidewalks were lined with these signs. 

If you have any questions about whether or not the sign you’ve been dreaming up will be permissible in the City of Ventura or the surrounding areas,  contact us.

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