Homer Alaska - News

Story last updated at 4:54 PM on Wednesday, October 12, 2011

What's your sign?

By Michael Armstrong
Staff Writer


Here's a multiple choice test.

Under the current city of Homer sign ordinance, circle the answer that is most correct:

A) Portable signs such as sandwich board signs are allowed in some zoning districts with a permit.

B) Sandwich board signs are not allowed near sidewalks.

C) Sandwich board signs without permits are allowed for no more than 14 days in a 90-day period.

D) All of the above.

Under proposed changes to the sign code, circle the answer that is most correct:

A) The sign code will be more business friendly to boardwalk businesses.

B) Sandwich board signs with commercial messages will be prohibited.

C) The maximum size of electoral signs will be reduced from 32 square feet to 16 square feet.

D) All of the above.

If you guessed D) in both answers, you might be one of the few citizens not confused by Homer's complicated sign code and a suggested revision.

If, like a lot of business owners who testified against the proposed sign code at a September meeting, you're a little confused, you may want to bone up on the changes and go to a second hearing on a revised code to be held by the Homer Advisory Planning Commission at 6:30 p.m. Oct. 19 at the Cowles Council Chambers at Homer City Hall. The planning commission may hold another work session and hearing on the proposed ordinance or it could recommend it with changes and send it to the Homer City Council for final action.

The proposed revisions have these main changes:

• The portable sign category would be eliminated.

• Temporary signs such as sandwich boards would be prohibited for commercial advertising. They would still be allowed for civic functions, for sale or rent signs and garage sale signs.

• Boardwalks such as Cannery Row or Bear Country Boardwalk on the Spit would no longer have a maximum amount of signage set per lot. Under the current code, 10 buildings to a lot have to split the square footage of signs to the maximum of 150 square feet allowed for the entire boardwalk. The revision would set a limit by the building.

• Mobile billboards would be banned, such as trailers or vans that have been parked at the top of Baycrest Hill advertising Spit or downtown businesses.

• Banners would have to be tacked down at all corners, and the square footage of the banner

Sign Ordinance/ At A Glance

Temporary signs, portable signs or sandwich board signs:


• Portable signs allowed in some zoning districts with permit within allowed square footage

• Commercial signs OK

• In zoning districts where allowed without a permit as temporary signs, cannot be displayed more than 14 days in a 90-day period

• For sale or lease signs OK

• One sign per lot

• Cannot be in public right of way


• Commercial signs prohibited except for sale or lease signs

• Portable sign category would be deleted

• Political signs and civic event signs OK

• Signs have to be removed within 7 days of event

• Sign may not be illuminated, animated or changeable copy sign

• Sign may not be more than 16-square-feet

• Temporary sale of household goods OK

• Cannot be in public right of way

Signs on Multiple Buildings on one lot:


• Maximum sign allowance of 150-square-feet per lot


• Sign allowance based on size of building



• Banners can be suspended from a pole

• Prohibited in some zoning districts


• Banners must be attached to a rigid structure along its entire circumference

• Banner would count as part of square footage permitted for business

Electoral signs:


• 32-square-feet maximum


• 16 square feet maximum

Signs on trailers or motor vehicles


• Allowed if on vehicle used in normal daily operations of business

• Permitted as portable sign with permit in some zoning districts and within square footage


• Prohibited if displayed on parked trailer or vehicle where the primary purpose of the vehicle is advertising

• Logos, identification and advertising allowed on vehicles primarily used for business or personal transportation