Sparks City Council Meeting 4/13/2015 2:00:00 PM

    Monday, April 13, 2015 2:00 PM
    Council Chambers, Legislative Bldg, 745 4th St., Sparks, NV

General Business: 9.4

Title: Consideration, discussion and possible direction to address a proposal from the Builders Association of Northern Nevada to allow temporary signs for residential sales to be placed in right-of-way.
Petitioner/Presenter: City of Sparks/Karen L. Melby, AICP
Recommendation: None. Refer to Alternatives
Financial Impact: NA
Business Impact (Per NRS 237):
A Business Impact Statement is not required because this is not a rule.
Agenda Item Brief:

The Builders Association of Northern Nevada (BANN) has requested that the City of Sparks allow home builders to post temporary signs. This agenda item is to discuss with the City Council alternatives and have City Council give staff direction with regard to BANN’s proposal. 


In February 2014, the Builders Association of Northern Nevada requested that the City of Sparks allow home builders to post temporary signs in the public right-of-way between Saturday 8 am and Sunday midnight directing customers to their developments. The BANN proposal provides for how long signs can be posted, what types signs are permitted and where they can be placed. The proposal includes allowing a maximum of 30 signs per community, no stacking of the signs and a minimum of 300 feet between each sign. No more than 2 signs would be allowed at the entrance of a community.


Staff has analyzed this proposal and has met with a representative who assists the homebuilders to post signs for their communities.

In looking at this proposal, staff offers the following for City Council consideration:

  • The adopted Sign Code prohibits the placement of any signs in the right-of-way except for traffic control devices. Signs are prohibited in the right-of-way because of safety issues of visual clutter, potential obstacles for vehicles and pedestrians, and potential impacts on the visibility triangle. State and Federal laws do not allow the placement of signs within the right-of-way of any roadway unless they are traffic control devices. The Federal government in the past has threatened to withhold monies if the City does not comply with these laws.
  • The City has adopted the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD). The purpose of MUTCD is “to promote highway safety and efficiency by providing orderly movement of all road uses on streets, highways, bikeways and private roads open to public travel throughout the Nation.” MUTCD states that signs and other devices placed within right-of-ways that do not have any traffic control purpose constitutes a public nuisance and should be removed.
  • The City’s adopted (SMC 20.56 – December 2014) sign code is a ‘content neutral’ sign code which does not reference the content of the message on a sign; therefore the code does not distinguish between on-premises and off-premises signs nor the product being advertised and who is posting the signs. Since staff cannot look at the content of the sign when approving signs, this proposal would allow not just home builders but any business to put up signs in the right-of-way directing customers to their business.
  • The purpose of the Sign Code is to maintain and enhance the aesthetic environment and to improve pedestrian and traffic safety. The posting of signs in the City’s right-of-way runs counter to these purposes, especially if 30 signs were allowed per community. With 10 active builders, this could mean as many as 300 signs posted each weekend. Due to content neutrality of the existing Sign Code, other signs maybe posted within the right-of-way anywhere within the corporate boundary.
  • The limited timeframe suggested by BANN would require Code Enforcement staff to work on weekends to verify the correct posting and removal of signs which, with the current staff levels, this would require adjustment in work schedules to allow staff to work on weekends and less time during the work week.
  • The adopted Sign Code regulates temporary signs by two temporary signs per driveway entrance not exceeding eight per site to be located on private property. The Sign Code is silent to zoning therefore, this is currently allowed for residential sales.

  1. Take no action.
  2. Provide direction to staff to initiate a code amendment to Title 20 (zoning code) of the Sparks Municipal Code to allow the placement of signs in the right-of-way. This would require staff to propose amendments to the Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices for Council’s adoption.
  3. Provide direction to staff to initiate a code amendment to address temporary signs for residential sales that are NOT placed in the right-of-ways.

Recommended Motion:

None. See alternatives.

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