For many business owners, hanging an unobtrusive sign on the front of their place of business seems like no big deal. But in the eyes of your local government, you could be breaking the law. Before hanging any sign, it’s very important to check with your local municipality to ensure you comply with all requirements. And depending on the type or placement of your signage, you may need to apply for a variance – or legal exception from the code.
According to the International Signage Association, here are 7 of the most common reasons you might have to apply for a signage variance:
1. Permitted signage would not be able to be easily seen by passing motorists in one or both directions because existing buildings, trees, traffic (particularly large trucks), or other obstructions would block it from view.
2. Permitted signage could not be seen by passing motorists in time to safely react and stop at the business.
3. Existing signs on nearby parcels would substantially reduce the visibility or advertising impact of a conforming sign on your parcel.
4. Construction of a conforming sign would block motorists’ view of the road or otherwise endanger the health or safety of passers-by.
5. Natural land features would have to be removed or severely altered if a conforming sign was constructed (such as removal of trees, alteration of the natural topography, filling of wetlands, or obstruction of a natural drainage course).
6. Variance from certain sign regulations would be offset by increased building setback, increased landscaping, or other such enhancements, so that the overall effect would make the parcel look much better than it would if the sign was built according to code.
7. A taller or larger sign than allowed by the code would be more appropriate in scale because of the large size or frontage of the parcel or building.
When applying, you should be able to explain in detail the reason why you have selected this particular sign design, demonstrate how the sign will help your business and the local community, how it will improve the appearance of your property and any other benefits that may result.
Navigating this process is tricky business, but remember the sign experts at your local Signs By Tomorrow are always available to help guide you.
Did you know April was National Community Service Month? According to the Corporation for National Community Service, volunteers provide a powerful economic and social benefit to communities across the nation. But just as in your personal life, the benefits you get by giving of your time can make volunteering professionally as rewarding for you as for those you’re helping. From making connections to bolstering your reputation in the community, corporate community service can have a positive impact on your bottom line as well as on the people or groups you’re supporting.
With this win-win scenario, it’s no wonder that research from the National Conference on Citizenship shows the national volunteer rate reached a five-year high in 2012. So if you’re looking for ways your business can get involved in community service, here are 5 ideas to get you started:
1. Research Your Options. There are numerous online resources you can use to find volunteer opportunities in your local community, including Serve.gov, Volunteer.gov and Volunteer Match. Also consider options that align with your business, whether that’s donating professional services or supporting a non-profit that’s also a client.
2. Know What You Have to Give. What’s realistic in terms of what you can offer: One time support from one person? Multiple days with larger groups of volunteers? Regular weekly or monthly support? Different organizations need different levels of commitment so be clear from the start about your availability and make sure it meets their needs.
3. Make It a Group Effort. Volunteering with others is personally enriching but can also strengthen connections with customers and staff. In fact, promoting your company as being committed to community service can be a great way to attract new employees as well as clients.
4. Be a Virtual Volunteer. If you have a computer and the necessary skills you could lend a hand to a local organization over the computer, or offer to participate in advisory sessions via the phone or video conferencing.
5. Serve On a Board. If you really want to give back, consider serving on a board for a local non-profit. Contact an organization you feel passionately about to see if there are board openings, or turn to online resources like Monster’s boardnetUSA.
Don’t let April pass you by without getting out and volunteering for National Community Service Month!
In the infamous words of one Kermit the Frog, it most certainly is not easy being green, but at Signs By Tomorrow, your custom signage and graphics solutions partner, we are taking small steps to make a big change for the better.
From equipping our graphics and signage centers with eco-friendly large format digital printers to participating in programs to recycle printer waste and used customer media, our corporate focus is on switching to sustainable operations wherever possible. We still have a long way to go, and we hope you’ll join us on the journey to continue to make this planet a better place for all of us.
In the meantime, this Earth Month we want to give special acknowledgment to some of our signage centers that go the extra mile to be green in their local communities: