Opinion: Is the Elk Grove City Council Really Looking Out for Small Businesses?

by David Woodel| Question - do you feel the current sign ordinance which limits the use of portable signage to eight weeks a year is he...

by David Woodel|

Question - do you feel the current sign ordinance which limits the use of portable signage to eight weeks a year is helping our business community prosper? I feel this limitation is a hindrance to small business but this is only part of the issue. I agree with the Elk Grove Chamber of Commerce Director, Angie Perry and other non-Chamber businesses who feel the sign ordinances are overly restrictive and add yet another obstacle to the Elk Grove business community.

Mayor Davis, after listening to the business owners proposed a pilot program to see what could be done to help, but several council members seemed to completely ignore the business community concerns. I thought that very odd when the Chamber represents about half (500) of the businesses with store fronts in town.

I was surprised that Councilman Detrick and Cooper gave full support to city staff comments over the business community concerns. The Staff reported that Elk Grove is no more severe that the other cities around us. Councilmen Detrick and Cooper commented that they would support maybe some additional monument signage but otherwise the current sign laws are pretty much good. Councilman Cooper went on to say that businesses who had their signs out in violation of the eight week sign restriction are "Renegades" who needed to be focused on by enforcement. This really bothers me, where is the effort to help business, not call them names?

Does the fact, if it is a fact, that other communities are doing something about their communities signage ordinances a certain way make it mandatory for Elk Grove to do the same? Does it mean the law is fair? And when our country is coming out of one of the worst recessions ever, can’t some assistance be provided to the business community even if it is temporary?

I told Councilman Cooper in the hall after the meeting that several of his comments seemed to show contempt for the small business community when you say those who put out signs in violation of the law because times are tough are Renegades, he did not respond. And are startups and businesses with small store fronts that are without “Main Street” frontage as the Councilman put it to be denied the right to make our community aware of their presence with signage so they can survive and grow? Of course Councilman Cooper also said the Council has more to be concerned about that just sign ordinances, there are other issues.

How do politicians who oppose trying to work with the business community of Elk Grove campaign and say they support small business?

For this small business, I support Mayor Davis' pilot idea as a way to seek out the best possible way to help the business community while upholding safety standards and considering general appearances.

David Woodel is a small business owner in Elk Grove.

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Lynn said...

Mr. Woodell and I spoke for a brief time in regards to small businesses. I do not believe signs alone will improve patronage to small businesses. Many, many times small businesses can and will grow by word of mouth and developing a good reputation. My concerns about signs; do we want our city to have sign boards,flags etc covering the streets? The one small businessman said that he has had his business for 6 years. If he has not had the signage he requested for the past 6 years what has kept him going? I knew of his business because a friend of mine said "great place to eat". I told another friend..etc.
How about this: The chamber might choose in their newsletter to promote business of the month. The city could help maybe through its newsletter; promote several small businesses offering a variety of services. The city has so much air time on the Autoboard sign; how about donating that time to small businesses? I believe there are other creative solutions to this situation than signs everywhere. Many in the community worked on the current sign ordinance. This was about planning a visual appeal for our city. The Mayor's suggestion may of been more appropriate in the initial phase to evaluate the current sign ordinance and before our city's professional staff spent hours on this at the direction of council.(This is our budget monies). Our city can benefit small businesses by getting the empty strip centers filled with businesses and working with the landlords. The recent change in the impact fees did more to help home developers than small businesses. Thankfully, Hume did make a suggestion that will help. There are solutions for our small businesses and the current signs indicating all the strip mall vacancies throughout our town does not help our small businesses.

Anonymous said...

I say "go for it." If it works for Hong Kong it will surely work for Elk Grove.


Anthony Bourdain said...

But does Elk Grove have dim sum?

Anonymous said...

If memory serves me correctly I believe what Mayor Davis proposed was called by the city attorney as "discrimination."

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