A-frame signs have never been allowed under Camp Verde’s town codes.
Nevertheless, they were allowed through an agreement with the town when Highway 260 bypassed Main Street and businesses felt they needed an extra tool to bring customers in.
More recently, the town became concerned over the L-word, “liability.”
The town’s Main Street is narrow, and there’s not much space between store fronts and asphalt; when the road was widened, the issue became more pronounced.
Many of the A-frame signs downtown sit in the town’s right-of-way areas, space near the road owned by the town.
If someone were to get into an auto accident because their vision was blocked by a sign, or if someone was hurt in any other way, the town could find itself involved in lawsuits.
Liability is an increasingly realistic concern of modern life, but when the town tried to enforce its rules over A-frame signs, there was an outcry from the Main Street business community.
After two years of wrangling through the town’s Planning and Zoning Committee, the Town Council finally decided to temporarily allow the signs for a few businesses on Main Street, the idea being that the signs would be removed when the economy got better.
This decision created an outburst of anger from merchants not included in the new rules; proponents argued that A-frame signs should be allowed for all businesses, not just Main Street businesses that fell under the new rule.
The outcry, which included Main Street protests, was enough to get the Town Council to reconsider their decision.
While the rules haven’t been changed yet, the council decided last week to suspend enforcing the rules for 30 days to try and work with the business community to develop an ordinance that’s fair to everybody.
Vice Mayor Brenda Hauser said it was important to find a solution that could soothe the charged emotions that have been tied up in this issue.
Mayor Tony Gioia said he realized that signs were important for every business in Camp Verde and wanted to find a fair solution.
Councilman Ron Smith told the public he was committed to getting to that fair solution soon; he doesn’t want the new council seated in June to inherit this problem, which has taken more than two years of the government’s time.
Town Attorney Bill Sims said that the town should ensure that businesses with signs in the town’s right-of-way should work out an agreement to indemnify the town from any liability while the council works to hammer out a new process for the A-frame signs.