Outside Signs Yes, Inside Signs No-Eagle River Council Decides

Jul 11, 2019

Display of signs within the Eagle River city limits that advertise or promote a business outside the city are in violation of a city ordinance, but how the signs may be displayed was clarified last week by the city council who voted 3-1 to regulate only signs that are outside a structure and not on the interior.

Mayor Jeff Hyslop asked the council if the city should continue with the present ordinance but also continue with past practice of only regulating outside signs. “My feeling is that our position should be anything beyond the threshold we regulate and anything interior behind the threshhold we are not going to regulate,” the Mayor said. “Inside a building we can ask what is a sign and what is not a sign? Is it up against the window or back a foot? Do we cross the threshhold and enforce signs inside?”

There were three complaints registered with the city according to city administrator Joe Laux who said “the city attorney felt we needed to pursue this and seek clarification from the council.” Council member Robin Ginner agreed with a number of letters that stated “signs inside is better than a vacant space” while council member Kim Schaffer was “against off-premise signs inside” and council member Jerry Burkett indicated he “had no complaints from anybody, not one” on off-premise signs.

At issue were a number of signs promoting the Pirates Hideaway inside a vacant business and an outside sign promoting Catch 22.

City resident Mike Duening indicated he looked at a number of legal cases and although he is not an attorney felt it was a free speech issue and “inside a building is difficult to regulate.” There was a question about fire codes and if the fire marshal should be notified about interior signs. Burkett moved to regulate only when outside of a building or outside a structure, and not on the interior. Council member Ron Kressin provided the second and on a roll call vote the motion was adopted 3-1 with Schaffer casting the vote against.

Notification of violations was clarifired by the council with a motion adopted 4-0 that citations could be issued for outside signs after a ten day violation notice.