Juneau Assembly votes to raise penalty for unpermitted signs

downtown Juneau
Downtown Juneau. (Creative Commons photo by Kyle Rush)

The Juneau Assembly voted Monday night to amend the signs code, adding a penalty that’s at least five times higher for unpermitted signs outside businesses.

Violators could pay $500 a day per offense; however, they may be eligible for a “fix it” period said Assemblyman Jesse Kiehl.

“If you get a citation for one of these sign violations, within 15 days, you can fix it,” he said. “You can get a permit, you can take it down–whatever it is. And your citation gets dismissed.”

Violators can only get one “fix it” period. After that, they can incur the penalty. The ordinance is based on one used in Skagway’s historic district.

Assemblyman Jerry Nankervis disagreed with the high fine, suggesting it should be lowered to $300. But Assemblywoman Karen Crane said there’s already been an enormous amount of discussion on the topic.

“There’s been agreement by a number of people. A lot of input on the $500 fine,” she said. “It’s worked well in other communities and I say, let’s go forward.”

Previously, business owners with unpermitted signs could be fined a staggered penalty of $25 to $100. It cost $50 to apply for a signs permit, only $25 for the violation. An advisory committee said that model discouraged compliance.

The new ordinance goes into effect at the end of July.

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