Back in 2007-2008 as Oak Park worked its unending process mojo on the village’s sign ordinance, times were pretty flush. Business was good. And making the case for all things aesthetic when it came to the signs that businesses displayed was a lot more palatable. By 2009 when the fairly limiting ordinance was passed, the economy was cratering, but the new law allowed for a five-year waiting period before overlarge or possibly unsafe signs had to be vamoosed.
The village and its businesses moved on to other things — mainly surviving — and only this past year as the spring 2014 deadline for enforcement came into view did it become real, as a village survey found some 370 non-complying signs. Small eruptions of anger and frustration ensued within the business community. Last week the village board took up the issue unexpectedly and some of its members appeared ready to bend, or cave, on aspects of the ordinance.
We think some bending is in order. Safety of signs is critical. Aesthetics, well, we’re in the more realistic position of liking our storefronts filled, even if the signs might be a bit gaudy. Let’s keep talking.