Permits for Temporary Signs
A Post-Dispatch article about a “Help Wanted” sign provides anecdotal evidence that supports my opinion of permits: Permit requirements are a tax (and a pain in the neck for people who have to deal with them).
The article reports on a sign that a business in Maryland Heights put up in order to let commuters know it was hiring. A code enforcement officer spotted the sign. Apparently, the sign blocked the view of some drivers, which would be a good reason to reposition it. But the officer wasn’t only interested in moving the sign in the name of safety and welfare; there was also the issue of permits. Maryland Heights businesses must pay a fee to erect a sign, and then the sign has to come down after two weeks. Businesses can repeat the process three times in a year. If they want to hire four times in a year, or post signs more than three times for any other reason, they’re out of luck.
Forbidding signs that obstruct visibility or hinder traffic is reasonable. Charging $25 for the privilege of erecting a harmless, temporary sign is not. It penalizes business that want to communicate with the world around them. In this case, the business wanted to let people know it was hiring — a message that everyone should welcome during this economy. The manager quoted in the article was right to be annoyed by Maryland Heights’ regulations.