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Joyce Clark Unfiltered

For "the rest of the story"

Disclaimer: The comments in this blog are my personal opinion and may or may not reflect an adopted position of the city of Glendale and its city council.

We couldn’t live our lives without signage. They are necessary. Going to a new doctor’s office at a large medical complex? Thank goodness for those letters or numbers on each building as we weave through a maze of buildings. Looking for that new restaurant that you’ve been dying to try? Thank goodness for that marquee sign on their building. New to a town? Thank goodness for street signs. We use signage multiple times a day and never once give them a thought. What about those feather banners or blow up figures dotting the landscape? Are they visual pollution in a community?

The City of Glendale is in the process of revising its codes and the proposed revisions should be ready for public comment in May or June. One section of the code deals with signage…every imaginable form of signage.

Permanent signage can be regulated fairly easily. The proposed code will stipulate how much square footage, permissible materials and placement is permissible. The problem for all of us to consider are temporary signs. Under Section 4.5.13 Temporary Signs are listed as:

  • A-Frame – no time limit specified
  • Banners – maximum display time of 14 consecutive days; minimum of 10 days between display periods


    A little much…
    3 banners
    A Frame
    More than 50% window coverage

  • Community/Individual event – on individual lot up to 90 days a year, not to exceed 30 consecutive days; in residential common area up to 40 days, not to exceed 20 consecutive days
  • Downtown promotional banner – 45 consecutive days 4 times a year with minimum of 15 days between each special event

 

 

  • Feather/Swooper – up to 15 days, 4 times a year

    9 Feather signs

  • Inflatables – no time period specified

    Inflatable

  • Elections, non-commercial – controlled by Arizona Revised Statutes 16-1019
  • Seasonal – no time period specified
  • Sign Walkers – no time period specified
  • Pennants – up to 15 days, 4 times a year
  • Flags – up to 3 years for a temporary flag
  • Subdivision advertising/directional – until 95% of homes are sold or sales office closes
  • Construction and development – to be removed within 7 days after expiration of the building permit
  • Open House directional – to be posted only when a salesperson on duty for a maximum of for no more than 9 hours a day
  • Real Estate activity, on-site – no time period specified
  • Light pole banner on private property – no time period specified

Note that some categories have no specified time period and that could be problematical. What is even more problematical is the ability of the city’s code department to enforce the time limits for temporary signs when the department only has a staff of 15 people.

I would like to see the code department use volunteers with no power to issue citations. We used to have volunteers that collected small, temporary signs, such as Yard Sale signs, placed in the city’s right-of way. Why not resurrect volunteers and have them note when they see a temporary sign go up and then check in 15 days to see if the temporary sign has been removed? They could pass this information on to a code inspector to start the necessary process to get it removed.

I also do not think that 30 days to remove a temporary sign is reasonable. It’s temporary. How long does it take down to take a feather sign staked in the ground? Or to turn off the compressor of an inflatable sign and remove it? A day or two? Why 30 days?

I have seen inflatables, feather signs and banner signs up for more than a year. Unless a specific complaint is made, these illegal signs are never dealt with. The proliferation of temporary signs is no more than visual pollution.

How junky do we want to allow Glendale to look? Since city council will be reviewing all of the code revisions, including those of temporary signs, I would really like the readers of this blog to weigh in. If it were up to me, I would not allow the use of inflatables and feather signs in Glendale…anywhere. What’s your opinion? Please let me know so that I can share your comments with the city council when this issue is discussed.

© Joyce Clark, 2021       

FAIR USE NOTICE

This site contains copyrighted material the use of which is in accordance with Title 17 U.S. C., Section 107. The ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Section 107 of the US Copyright Law and who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democratic, scientific and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such material. For more information go to http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use,’ you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

Disclaimer: The comments in this blog are my personal opinion and may or may not reflect an adopted position of the city of Glendale and its city council.

I haven’t written anything since early December when I announced that I would be running again in 2020 for the Yucca district city council seat. Then I enjoyed our holidays. Just like everyone else, I spent the time shopping, mostly on Amazon; baking annual Christmas treats; wrapping presents, decorating the tree and preparing a scrumptious Christmas dinner.  All the things with which we become preoccupied during the season occurred. The new year of 2019 has begun replete with traditional resolutions sure to be broken within the month. I wish all of you a Happy New Year.

City Council resumed its activities with its first workshop and voting meeting of the year on January 8th. One of the more high profile issues of that first voting meeting was city council’s approval of a distracted driving ordinance mirroring the one passed by Surprise. It takes effect on February 7th but staff has begun a six month education period that will delay ticketing of offenders. It is a primary offense and drivers can be stopped for using hand held devices resulting in a fine of $250. This action would not be necessary if the state legislature had done its job and passed a statewide law. That may actually occur this year after the untimely and unfortunate death of a Salt River Police Officer by a distracted driver. Arizona is one of a handful of states that does not have a statewide ban.

Another significant action to have occurred at that council voting meeting is the selection of Vice Mayor for 2019. It is a job that rotates on an annual basis. It is primarily ceremonial with the Vice Mayor acting only when the Mayor is unavailable to chair a council meeting or other event. I wish to thank the Mayor and City Council for selecting me for the position. It is an honor to serve in that capacity.

One of the upcoming issues on council’s January 22nd workshop meeting is that of motorized scooters. The birds, er, Bird brand motorized scooters, are popping up all over Glendale — especially downtown. While they serve a purpose for some residents in our community it has become abundantly clear that they, without any regulation, are becoming a nuisance to many others. Council will give direction on this issue at its workshop meeting.

Another problematical issue coming before council at its January 22nd voting meeting is a request to allow medical marijuana dispensaries to deliver marijuana to customers. Malcom Gladwell said in a recent New Yorker magazine article, “Permitting pot is one thing, promoting its use is another.” The general consensus in society seems to be that marijuana is pretty benign. Not so fast, there is a book out by Alex Berenson entitled “Tell Your Children: The Truth about Marijuana, Mental Illness and Violence.” It’s well worth the read and raises the issue that marijuana may not be quite as gentle as we have been led to believe. The voters of the state have spoken and approved the use of medical marijuana but it is up to local leadership to decide just how much they are willing to promote its use.

This year promises to be another busy one. In addition to the Business Subcommittee, which I chair, continuing its effort to enhance Glendale’s business friendly reputation, I will also serve on the Council Code Review Committee seeking reform of the operations of this department as well as looking for ways to strength those parts of Code that have not served the interests of our residents.

The creation of the annual budget is always a challenge. It shouldn’t be surprising to learn that when times are financially tough it’s very easy to create council consensus on allocations for limited resources but as the budget gets healthier there is bound to be more friction to secure funding for projects that have waited a long time to get funded.

Council is focused on job creation for our residents as well as rehabilitating infrastructure — something that could not be addressed during the years when the city concentrated on maintaining services and nothing else. There are sure to be issues that will arise that no one can anticipate or foretell. Could it be Glen Lakes development? the Thunderbird campus development? taking downtown Glendale in a new direction? or Loop 303 economic development opportunities? Who knows? But be assured that council will try to make the best decisions that it can for all of Glendale.

I announced last month that I will run for the Yucca district city council seat in 2020. This month I will file my campaign committee paperwork with the City Clerk in order to begin fund raising for the campaign. My goal is to raise $50,000 this year to position myself to mount a successful campaign against any candidate, especially one promoted and funded by the fire union, a very likely proposition.

Please join me this year by subscribing to this blog as I continue to offer my perspective on the issues Glendale will face. Simply sign up at the top of the column to the left of this article and every time there is a new post it will be emailed to you. As I enter the fifth year of writing this blog I am very close to having had half a million reads of my posts. Thank you all for not just following me but for continuing to take an interest in Glendale and its governance.

© Joyce Clark, 2019         

FAIR USE NOTICE

This site contains copyrighted material the use of which is in accordance with Title 17 U.S. C., Section 107. The ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Section 107 of the US Copyright Law and who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democratic, scientific and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such material. For more information go to http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use,’ you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

Disclaimer: The comments in this blog are my personal opinion and may or may not reflect an adopted position of the city of Glendale and its city council.

Ever since I returned to city council two years ago, in December of 2016, I have been sorely disappointed in the inconsistent performance of one city department, Code.  I am sure I will hear from my city manager about once again publicly expressing concern about the work of a group of city employees. However, some situations beg to be discussed and this is one of those.

A little history on the Code Department is in order. When I first served on council in 1992 the performance of the Code Department was not good. Employee abuses included taking extraordinarily long lunch breaks and when they were in the field they earned the reputation of being “Gestapo-like.” Eventually the department was reorganized and a new director took the helm. That was Dan Gunn. Mr. Gunn did an excellent job of turning the department around and for years, under his leadership, code performed at a high level of achievement. When I returned code was once again in disarray.  Over the past few budget cycles council allocated more resources and personnel in order to help the department succeed once again.

Those actions have not borne the fruit council expected. I have seen situations that I can only describe as retaliation against our citizens and cases of inconsistent enforcement of the Code Department dependent upon where you live in the city.

I am aware of two cases that can only be described as retaliation. In one case the resident, in an effort to clean up a blighted south Glendale neighborhood, reached out to councilmembers for assistance. That action of taking it to councilmembers resulted in the citizen being cited for minor violations while much graver neighborhood issues were ignored.  It appeared to be a case of retaliation.

In another case, as a result of a neighborhood dispute now being adjudicated in court, one litigant, a neighbor began calling in continuous code complaints. Code’s actions in enforcing those harassment complaints flies in the face of their unstated policy that when a situation is in litigation they back off and let the police department and the courts settle the matter. That is not what occurred in this case.

In this case, the citizen (a Vietnam vet) who has an injunction to prevent further harassment by his neighbor is being cited for an inoperable vehicle that has been repurposed as “yard art” and for having a flag pole greater than 6 feet tall.

As I said in a recent city council workshop on the issue of placing a permanent flag pole and American flag on Thunderbird Mountain, “I can’t imagine any place where the flying of the American flag is inappropriate.”

Did you know that historically only 38 permits at a cost of $230 each have been issued and those, in the majority, were for commercial properties?  Nearly every Glendale resident who has a flag pole 6 feet or taller has no blinkin’ idea that a permit is even required, much less the cost of such a permit. Some residents, such as myself, had a flag pole greater than 6 feet when the home was purchased in 1998. I assume that it is grandfathered in but I certainly had no idea about code restrictions on resident flag poles. Here is ours. By the way, the resident has taken down the flag pole.

As for “yard art,” all art, as we well know, is subjective…very, very subjective. What is art to one person may be an abomination to another. The resident took an old, antique truck and spent about $3,000 to have it repurposed as an art piece and placed in his front yard. It was his art. By the way the property in question in the northern portion of the city is a ½ to 1 acre horse property (exactly as is mine). No one complained and in fact, passers-by would stop to have their photo taken with the “art truck.” Once again, the neighbor with an injunction for harassment called code and complained. The only rule upon which code could hang its hat was that the vehicle is ‘inoperable’.  By the way, I have antique tractor equipment as “yard art”. It’s definitely inoperable and again, probably grandfathered in since it has been there since the house was built. Here is our ‘yard art’. 

I find code’s actions to be astounding when at every council voting meeting, a citizen comes forward during the public comment period and brings photos of rampant illegal parking of inoperable vehicles in his south Glendale neighborhood resulting in little if any enforcement. If parking an inoperable vehicle is a code violation in one area of the city then code should be enforcing it throughout the city. It is not doing so per the citizen who regularly brings the situation to council’s attention at its voting meetings.

Today people are more affluent and often have several vehicles in addition to the fact there are often multiple families or extended relatives living at a home. Hence many have more than two vehicles resulting in on-street parking (which is OK) or parking all over the front yard, often on dirt or grass (which is not OK). It makes Glendale look trashy and blighted. No one would complain if the code for inoperable vehicles was being administered fairly and equitably throughout the city.

There are code regulations to prohibit this behavior as well as others. The problem remains inequitable enforcement, selective enforcement or no enforcement at all in areas of need. It is frustrating to not just the citizens who want their neighborhoods cleaned up but to the councilmembers and their assistants receiving complaints on a daily basis. It is a situation that had been resolved in years past and has now deteriorated once again.

This situation has prompted the creation of a Code Review Committee comprised of councilmembers and citizens. It is scheduled to start its work after the holidays. As a member of the committee I am confident that we will recommend changes to the code department’s operations and to city code as well. I am also confident that a majority of council will concur with the committee’s recommendations. Currently code’s enforcement is an untenable situation that cannot, and must not, continue.

© Joyce Clark, 2018         

FAIR USE NOTICE

This site contains copyrighted material the use of which is in accordance with Title 17 U.S. C., Section 107. The ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Section 107 of the US Copyright Law and who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democratic, scientific and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such material. For more information go to http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use,’ you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

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