Advertising signage draft local law looks to strike a balance

A-frame sandwich boards remain, the annual approval license for signs has gone and the size of building signage in two key industrial zones will be increased under new proposals to manage advertising signage across Noosa Shire.

A revised draft Local Law on Advertising Devices has been given the green light by Council and goes out for public input from Friday October 25.

This second round of consultation follows initial consultation on a previous draft that occurred over 7 weeks from late June to early August. Staff and councillors considered the feedback received from that first round.

Mayor Tony Wellington said the new proposed changes are a response to the feedback, and they strike a good balance between business needs and protecting the shire’s unique visual amenity.

“The look-and-feel of Noosa is our visual and economic strength. It’s integral to what sets Noosa apart. The very elements that define Noosa also underpin the Noosa brand, providing a competitive advantage to so many of our local businesses,” he said.

“As the Noosa Design Principles state, advertising signage should fit with the local character. That’s what we are wanting to maintain with this revised local law.”

“In fact, we often hear that other shires are wishing to replicate what we do with respect to public signage.

Councillors agreed to increase the individual signage allowance for buildings in the Cooroy and Noosaville industrial zones from four square metres to six square metres on a sliding scale of .75 sqm per linear metre of building frontage.

Cr Wellington said this was in recognition of the larger size of buildings within the industrial area.

Another key difference from the previous version of the draft Local Law is the allowance of one A-frame per tenancy. Under the revamped proposal, each A-frame must be placed on the property or immediately adjacent to the property. Importantly, A-frames must allow for a clear pedestrian walkway with a clearance of at least 2 metres.

The matter of real estate pointer signs was subject to considerable debate.

It was noted that a number of local real estate agencies had requested they be banned, whilst others wanted them retained. In the end, councillors determined to adhere to the previous proposal of one sign per auction or open for inspection, to be placed on or in front of the property.

The initial proposal for an annual license fee to help cover costs of compliance has been removed from the revised draft local law.

“There was a view that Council was attempting to raise additional revenue through this licensing process,” Mayor Wellington said. “In fact, we were just trying to cover the ongoing cost of monitoring and compliance action by Council staff. Nevertheless, we have listened to the reaction and determined to cover those costs in other ways.”

Tear drop signs will be not be supported under the proposed new laws. Furthermore, the new draft retains the maximum 50 per cent coverage of shop windows by signage.

“This reinforces a long-standing position of Noosa Council aimed at ensuring a high level of amenity and visual interest across our retail streetscapes,” Mayor Wellington said.

“It may even help business turnover? The meeting was told of a retailer that was asked to reduce the total opaque coverage of its shopfront windows, only to discover that trade improved significantly after making the shift to allow customers to see inside the shop.”

Cr Wellington said responding to the many submissions doesn’t mean that every submitter’s opinions can be accommodated.

“There were many viewpoints, and for every situation both pros and cons were offered. We have aimed to find a workable solution that continues to respect Noosa’s long standing approach to visual amenity, a framework which has worked so well attracting visitors, residents and businesses to our special part of the world.”

“It’s important to note that none of these proposed changes are set in stone. We are keen to hear the community’s views before we finalise the local law,” Cr Wellington said.

The public consultation period starts on October 25 and runs until November 15.

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