City updates half-century-old sign code

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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) -- Topeka's governing body made changes Tuesday to what signs you'll see around the city.

For almost two years, planning committees have been meeting to discuss flaws and issues with the city's sign code.

The current sign code ordinance dates back more than 50 years.

Tuesday’s 9 to 1 vote puts new rules in place for signs in Topeka.

With help from a community survey done almost two years ago, the city's new sign ordinance will ban pole signs, remove abandoned signs and phase out portable signs.

"We listened,” Bill Fiander, Director of Planning and Development, said. “They wanted their community to look better, and they told us what looked better. The new sign code reflects that."

The original ordinance presented to the governing body gave people with portable signs until October 1, 2021 to remove them.

An amendment by Councilmen Michael Lesser moves that up a year to October 1, 2020.

"96 percent of the respondents said they were unappealing or very unappealing,” Fiander said. “It was the lowest rated sign in our survey."

The ordinance goes hand in hand with Momentum 2022's emphasis on improving the aesthetic around the community.

"It has been shown that a better, more visually appealing community has more pride,” Fiander said. “More pride drives local spending so that has a real economic impact. I think it's a step in the right direction for the community to remove some of the blighting influences they see around town.”

The new sign ordinance will go into effect on October 1 of this year.