Business, News

Sign O’ the Times in Peabody

PEABODY — At least one city councilor has had enough of flag-like business signs flapping in the breeze.

The council met with Al Talarico, the city’s building inspector, to discuss the overflow of flags, banners, A-frames, and other assorted signs throughout Peabody. It took a little bit of conversation to determine just what the biggest culprits are causing sign pollution.

“I’m opposed to the flags that plunge into the ground and sit there and flap,” said Ward 5 Councilor Joel Saslaw.

There was some discussion about the A-frame signs that typically sit outside businesses on sidewalks as well as more traditional banner signs. But Saslaw, Talarico, and the other councilors zeroed in how to deal with the newer style planted flag signs, which can often be seen outside used-car dealerships, sub shops, and coffee shops.

“They do take up a lot of room, and it’s an eyesore,” said Talarico. “But as long as the city approves of them, there’s not much that we can do about it.”

Saslaw made a motion to ban the flag signs in the city, but Councilor-at-Large Tom Gould pointed out that prohibiting those types of flags outright would require a zoning change.

Rather than moving forward with a zoning charge, Councilor-at-Large Tom Rossignoll suggested city officials see if the sign issue improves after the building department hires the newly created position of a zoning enforcement officer.

Talarico said there are rules for how long unattached or freestanding signs can stay in one place, and with increased enforcement, some of the issues could be addressed.

“Like we did with lawn signs, we can start targeting certain areas of the city and educate businesses,” he said. “Route 1 is a concern, we can send a couple of guys through and talk to the businesses about the flag.”

Councilors said they would take up the matter again in four to five months to see if greater enforcement helps lessen the sign nuisance.

“The issue is the signs go up and never come down and it just doesn’t look good,” Saslaw said.

More Stories From Peabody