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Sign size matters to Glendale's small business owners

January 30, 2012 12:00:00 AM PST
There's a fight going on over signs on businesses in Glendale.

Some small business owners say the city has a double standard when it comes to size, forcing their businesses to comply while large corporations get variances.

Lucy Kasparian bought a building in the city two years ago. She envisioned the name of her new law practice emblazoned upon an existing sign.

But signs like the one that spikes high into the air in front of her building, considered too large by the city, are illegal.

To make matters worse, a new city ordinance means Kasparian will have to pay to have the sign removed.

Like many cities, Glendale has strict restrictions on the height and size of commercial signs. According to a decades-old city ordinance, they can't be higher than 8 feet with surface areas not to exceed 75 square feet.

There are plenty of signs in Glendale that are not in compliance, but those were grandfathered in or allowed special variances. The restrictions only apply to new businesses.

"Some have received variances, yes. Some have not," said city spokesman Tom Lorenz.

Lorenz said the restrictions come down to the quality of life.

"This is something about the aesthetics in the city of Glendale," he said. "We're unique here in Glendale. We're Glendale beautiful."

"It's about bringing everyone together and playing on the same playing field," said

But Kasparian says the city has a double standard.

There is relief in sight. The Glendale City Council will vote Tuesday on a new proposal that would give businesses up to two years before they have to comply with the ordinance.

Removing signs can cost thousands of dollars. City officials say it's possible that they will continue to defer the mandatory removal to 2017. That decision will come at Tuesday's council meeting.