By Kevin Sabo
For the Independent
Drivers, headed along Hwy 12 through Stettler, are bombarded by portable signs and the town is getting complaints that the signs may distract drivers.
Council, during their regular meeting July 3, agreed to review the bylaw after getting numerous complaints about the dozens of signs within the town’s boundaries.
“The signs take away from the beauty of the area,” said Coun. Scott Pfeiffer, adding that the town worked to increase the green space and put in a walking path for pedestrians, giving the area a park-like feel.
Coun. Al Campbell, however, disagreed saying the signs show Stettler is a vibrant community.
“We shouldn’t hamper business, we should promote it.”
Of concern are the nine signs along Hwy 12 between the four-way stop at the bottom of Main Street and the lights by the Smitty’s Restaurant.
There are six signs in the school zone, which poses a safety concern. Some residents complained to the town that the signs could distract drivers, thus causing them to potentially hit a child at a crosswalk. To address this safety concern council is considering naming the green space across from the school as a designated park. A park would fall under a public use area and the signs wouldn’t be allowed.
According to Leann Graham, director of planning and development for the town, four signs have expired permits. Permits are valid for one year.
Graham also said that although there isn’t anything in the town’s land use bylaw, there’s an unwritten rule that the boulevard along Hwy 12 between 57 St. and 50 St. is reserved for the public and non-profit, community information signs.
The signs, which weren’t regulated prior to 2011, are subject to a one-year no-fee permit that can be renewed. Council is considering imposing a permit fee to offset the cost for the extra time it takes town employees to maintain the grass around the signs. Graham, in her report to council, said it takes town staff an extra one to one-and-half hours to maintain the grass area around signs. Council will review the issues at its committee of the whole and the bylaw will be brought back to council this fall.