Sahuarita opens-up sign ordinance

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For years, area cities have been cracking down on business signs, making them smaller and less obtrusive. But one town is telling some businesses, go for it!

"Our elected officials are concerned about the well-being and prosperity of the local business," says Sahuarita Planning & Zoning Director Sarah More.

Drive along I-19 near Sahuarita and you won't find much in terms of signage, other than signs that show which fast food restaurants are near the next exit, and a sign indicating that you're actually in Sahuarita.

"Right now it's limited to automobile, travel-related businesses," explains More.

The process to get to this point has taken nearly two years. Town officials say some of the issues have been about just how high and how bright the signs should be.  "Unlike communities to the north of us, we are in close proximity to those observatories that the dark sky ordinance was passed to protect," says More.

At Monday night's Sahuarita town council meeting, people from the community had their chance to weigh-in.  "Much more consideration needs to be given to this subject. Signage is an important part of any community and needs to be done right," says David Carrol.

"I think if you do a good business around here, people will find you no matter where you are," says Sue.

Yet even with the opposition from some, and the acknowledgment the ordinance isn't perfect, the council decided to amend the sign code on a 5 to 1 vote.

The sign code change officially goes into effect 30 days from now.  As it stands any new signs along that stretch of I-19 can only be 15-feet high, But the council plans to revisit that part of the ordinance at a future meeting.