Tucson council weighs sign amenment

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TUCSON, Ariz. -- The Tucson city council has introduced changes to an ordinance regulating historic landmark signs, such as those found on the Oracle corridor. The amendment would allow owners of those signs to restore them.

The Tucson city council hashed out the details of an application process that would allow business owners with iconic signs to take them down for repair and put them back up.

Right now an ordinance says if you take it down, it stays down.

"I understand that the application fee is $5,000 and there's an annual fee," said Councilwoman Regina Romero.

It would cost businesses big bucks just to be considered for historic status and gain the right to restore their signs.

"I hope that they can waive that or reduce that," said Carlos Lozano with the Tucson Pima County Historical Commission.

Lozano was pleased to hear the council will reconsider the $5,000 application fee.

"I think that what mayor and council has is a really good amendment," said Lozano.

At least one resident says the change would not do enough to restrict the placement of these flamboyant signs.

"This ordinance is drafted so broadly it could resurrect or relocate signs into people's neighborhood areas throughout the city," said Mark Mayer from the Julia Keen Neighborhood Association.

Location was a topic of discussion Tuesday. For example, what if a business moves, taking the sign with it.

"If the sign proposed to be relocated would be out of scale or somehow otherwise incompatible with signs in that concentration it would not be approved," said Jonathon Mabry from the Historic Preservation Office.

The idea right now is to tackle each application on a case by case basis. The public will get a chance to weigh in on the amendment on June 28.