Archive | Signs

Councillor panel to hear submissions on signage changes for world cup

Published 2 August 2010

Auckland City Council has set up a councillor hearings panel to amend the signs & billboards bylaws for the 6-week period of the Rugby World Cup next year.

 

Technically, the panel’s task is to consider submissions and make a decision on a proposal to amend the bylaws. But the council staff report for the hearing is an advocacy report, conforming with the decision reached at the council’s city development committee in May to endorse bylaw changes for the event.

 

As happened when the bylaws were amended in 2007, the chairman of that committee is chairing the hearing. There was a strong campaign against some changes last time, comparatively lightweight opposition for this bylaw change.

 

Last time, the City Vision & Labour-dominated council pushed for a reduction in signage around the city. This time, for the 6-week period of the Rugby World Cup, the proposal is to allow temporary signage colouring the city.

 

Senior urban management policy analyst Helgard Wagener said in his report for the panel the trend during major events internationally had been for the host cities not to confine activities & signage associated with the major events to the venues, but to promote them throughout the city, particularly with highly visible & elaborate signage. These included:

“life style graphics”/building wraps that are attached to large cbd buildings and cover a significant part of the buildings’ street frontageinteractive electronic signage that directs visitors to key tournament locations, as well as providing key tournament informationcountdown clocks designed to provide a sense of anticipation of the major event, andbanner infrastructure that can hold much larger banners than street poles due to higher wind-load capabilities, clustered around key activity areas for maximum effect.

 

The Rugby World Cup starts & finishes in Auckland – start date 9 September, conclusion Sunday 23 October, with matches at Eden Park (oh, and at North Harbour Stadium, which will be in the same city by then), and fan zones will be located at public places in the city.

 

Mr Wagener said in his hearing report: “Analysis of the planned events & projects associated with the Rugby World Cup indicates that, with the exception of extraordinary signs & billboards such as ‘life-style graphics’/building wraps, the current bylaws of the council provide adequately for the management of major events.”

 

However, he said, none of the signs or billboards in his example catalogue would meet the requirements of the present bylaws and would require dispensations to be erected. The catch was that dispensation could be granted only

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Real estate sign changes & poster boards to go to one bylaw hearing

Published 9 July 2009

Auckland City Council proposes to hold a hearing on proposed amendments to its bylaws on real estate signs & poster boards once a report on the posters is completed in August.

 

The real estate industry made submissions to the council’s city development committee on signage in February and the advertising industry followed that in June with a presentation on poster boards.

 

The committee resolved in March to get draft bylaw amendments that would:

 

increase the maximum permissible size of directional real estate signsincrease the allowable duration of display from 3 to 6 monthsdelete the requirement to display dates of erection of signsclarify the meaning of saleclarify that only one sign may be erected where than one company is promoting itrequire that signs be erected on the property being marketed, except that they can be erected in public places where the property doesn’t have road frontage.

 

The committee deferred 2 reports on poster boards in June so staff could respond to industry submissions and that response is now scheduled to go to the committee on Thursday 13 August.

 

Submissions will then be heard by a panel of 3 councillors, currently proposed to be committee chairman Aaron Bhatnagar, deputy Graeme Mulholland & Cllr Glenda Fryer.

 

Want to comment? Go to the forum.

 

Attribution: Council committee meeting & agenda, story written by Bob Dey for the Bob Dey Property Report.

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Council approves new signs & billboards bylaws

Published 15 June 2007

Auckland City Council approved its new signs & billboards bylaws last night – watered down from the original proposal, but with a commitment to work with the billboards industry over the next 5 years to remove offending boards from specified areas.

The new bylaws will come into force on Monday 2 July.

Cllr Glenda Fryer said in introducing the signs bylaw for approval (Cllr Richard Northey chaired the billboards parts of the hearings and introduced that new bylaw), enforcement was the key.

That comment was in stark contrast to her earlier position, illustrated in the original proposal of the draft bylaw to strip away existing-use rights and in her desire to remove all but necessary signage.

The new bylaws are separate but in many instances are similar. The hearings panel produced 2 sets of key bylaw changes, plus recommendations for further action.

Cllr Northey said there was a suggestion that the council consult on whether the controls should be included in the district plan, giving Resource Management Act coverage to them, as the signs & billboards industry had argued.

He saw both advantages & disadvantages, but said the consent process was more complex & costly and allowed for appeal. He said there wasn’t time to put the new controls in the district plan before July 2008, when the new bylaws had to be in place as a requirement of the Local Government Act.

Key points of the bylaws:

 

·         The council is to streamline the application process by improving processing time and reviewing the cost of dispensation applications

·         The council is to increase effective & efficient enforcement “as poor enforcement disadvantages parties which comply”

·         The planning & regulatory committee is to develop policy to control the location, size & number of poster boards, and to formalise contracts for their placement & maintenance

·         A total ban on sandwich boards should be considered in any future signs bylaw

·         The council must take this bylaw & urban design principles into account when it considers its own branding

·         The council will remove all redundant & oversized signs on its own land by 1 July 2009, in consultation with community boards

·         The council will ask the Local Government Minister to regulate for effective infringement notices & penalties

·         ARTA (the regional transport authority) will be told of feedback about bus windows being covered with advertising “and be requested to cease this practice”

·         When the isthmus section of the district plan is reviewed, the council will consider whether controls of signs & billboards should be included in it

·         The council is to work collaboratively with the billboard & advertising industry over the next 5 years to remove or modify freestanding & wall-mounted billboards

      a. from heritage buildings

      b. from special character or character overlay areas

      c. in situations where the billboard isn’t integrated with the building, or is visually dominant or creates clutter, or

      d. where the billboard is in a gateway to the central area and to Onehunga from Manukau City

·         The council won’t condone the ongoing use of freestanding billboards on council-owned land in those parts of the city where the bylaw excludes them, and will take action as soon as contractually possible to expedite their removal.

 

The key changes in detail of the signs & billboard bylaws are: 

The new bylaw won’t affect any lawfully established signs apart from signs on shopfronts, where there will be a limit on the coverage of the front façade below street verandahs (or below 3m) from 1 July 2009, and the existing banning of sandwich boards from some parts of the central area will be extended to all of the central area and to centre plans & character overlay areas from 1 July 2009The rules for new verandah fascia signs remain similar to those in the existing bylaw for most areas except for smaller dimensions in centre plans, character overlay areas & the Hauraki Gulf islands. Larger fascia signs will be allowed in the cbd when more than 3 businesses are advertisedThe rules for new under-verandah signs are similar to existing rulesThe size of tavern signs (that’s a sign type, not just promoting liquor outlets) can be larger than those proposed in the notified bylaw, but no tavern signs will be permitted if that business is already using signs attached to the top of a street verandahA simpler standard will be used to control flat wall-mounted signs placed higher than 3m on a wall (or above a verandah), with less signage permitted on front walls than on side & rear wallsThe proposal to control signage up to 500mm inside doors & windows has been removedThe proposal that would have restricted the coverage of ground-floor windows & doors with signs to 20% of their area has been replaced with a restriction (applying from 1 July 2009) that signs shouldn’t cover more than 50% of the front façade below street verandahs or the area below 3m in the absence of a verandah – most businesses are likely to meet this requirement alreadyThe height & area of freestanding signs can be increased from those proposed if the sign advertises a number of businesses or is on a site with a long road frontageAn increase in the allowable size of real estate signs in commercial & industrial areas, but with controls on their placement & numberAn increase in the size of signs permitted for places of worship & community centres because of the services they provide to the communityAllowances for temporary signage for community events promoted by schools, clubs etcThe existing controls for the location of billboards in the central area are retained, but no new freestanding billboards will be permitted in the central area without a dispensationThe dimensions and minimum & maximum height at which new billboards can be placed on the walls of buildings will be limited to prevent their visual dominanceTo protect the more public, ornate & detailed walls that are closest to streets, no new billboard can be placed on these street frontage walls without a dispensation, andTo avoid visual clutter & adverse cumulative effects, if a billboard is placed on the wall of a building then no other signs, apart from those at street level, will be permitted on that wall.

Website: Council agenda

 

Related stories:

Council approves new signs & billboards bylaws

Closed mind, open mind, I’m in 2 minds as to whether there are any minds in the council chamber

Cost of “pointless” bylaw exercise? Paris & back 91 times

Want to comment? Click on The new BD Central Forum or email [email protected].

 

Attribution: Council agenda & meeting, story written by Bob Dey for this website.

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Cost of “pointless” bylaw exercise? Paris & back 91 times

Published 14 June 2007

The Property Council says the Auckland City Council spent more than $260,000 confirming that its draft sign & billboard bylaws couldn’t implemented without exposing the city council to a legal challenge.

Property Council chief executive Connal Townsend said he was stunned this sum was spent even though city council staff apparently knew the law prevented them from confiscating existing-use & property rights: “It is absolutely disgraceful to see such a huge amount of money blown on such a pointless exercise. The legal & policy arguments presented by the Property Council clearly demonstrated that Auckland City Council did not have the power to override existing use rights.”

Mr Townsend gave the breakdown of costs supplied by the city council: 

Advertising costs $14,752.20Postage & courier $5649.35Printing costs $18,731.79Legal fees $104,288.57Consultative fees $121,050.79Miscellaneous (including hireage of van to take panel on site visits, catering, etc) $863.50. 

“Over 1600 hours of staff time was spent on policy, research, drafting & attendance at hearings. Over 170 hours was spent providing administrative support to hearings.

“Auckland City ratepayers have experienced substantial rate increases year on year over the past 3 years. The Property Council, like other stakeholder organisations, has questioned where the money is being spent and whether ratepayers are receiving value for their contribution.

“I believe ratepayers will question whether spending more than a quarter of a million dollars on an exercise to confirm what submitters had been telling Auckland City Council all along, represents value for money.

“Previously an elected member of the Auckland City Council was reported as saying the (illegal) proposed billboards & signs bylaws could be enacted, thus making Auckland look ‘just like Paris’. The Property Council’s own price shopping shows you could buy 91 economy return trips to Paris with the amount of money that was squandered by Auckland City Council in its failed attempt to ban billboards and signs.”

Related stories:

Council approves new signs & billboards bylaws

Closed mind, open mind, I’m in 2 minds as to whether there are any minds in the council chamber

Cost of “pointless” bylaw exercise? Paris & back 91 times

Want to comment? Click on The new BD Central Forum or email [email protected].

 

Attribution: Property Council release, story written by Bob Dey for this website.

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Council backs off billboard overkill

Published 20 May 2007

Auckland City Council’s signs & billboards bylaw panel has pulled back from the overkill proposals which caused an uproar in the industry.

 

It has proposed tighter rules, but not the wholesale banning the bylaw writers suggested. One of those writers – planning & regulatory committee chairman, leading anti-signs campaigner & panel co-chairman Glenda Fryer – made a bland statement below panel fellow chairman Richard Northey’s statement on the outcome of the panel deliberations.

 

The most fundamental change – banning existing billboards and taking away property rights – has been canned. But the panel has still proposed taking that action against some signs.

 

The panel will go over the bylaw wording on Wednesday 30 May and its recommendations will go to a council meeting on Thursday 14 June.

 

The panel said after 7 hours of deliberating it would recommend that all existing lawfully established billboards & most existing lawfully established signs be allowed to remain.

 

It will also recommend that the council work with the billboard industry to remove or modify any existing billboards on heritage buildings and in character areas.

 

Cllr Northey said the panel believed its recommendations “carefully balance the needs of the signs & billboards industry, the advertising sector & building owners with the needs of the city as a whole.

 

“We gave thought to economic, planning & environmental needs in coming to our decision. At times it was a delicate balancing act, but we believe this approach should provide a good framework for the future use of signs & billboards in our city.”

 

Cllr Fryer said the hundreds of submissions were invaluable in helping the panel reach its decision: “Many of the submissions were very comprehensive and well thought through. They contained valuable ideas & information, which we have been able to incorporate in our recommendations. I’d like to thank those who took the time to participate in this process.”

 

The panel’s recommendations to the council on the billboards bylaw include:

 

all lawfully established billboards currently in existence can remainthe council works with the billboard & advertising industry over the next 5 years to remove or modify a number of billboards, including those on heritage buildings and those in character areasno new freestanding billboards allowed in the central areaonly one billboard/building allowed and no new billboards on street-frontage walls, andregistration is required for all billboards 12m² or larger.The panel will also recommend the council continue with a dispensation system for billboards in areas where they are not allowed as of right.

 

The panel’s recommendations to the council on the signs bylaw include:

 

most lawfully established signs currently in existence can remain, except for below-verandah signs on façades with street frontages and sandwich boards in the central area & character areasnew verandah fascia signs can be 600mm in all areas except character areas and the Hauraki GulfIslands, where the maximum should be 400mmstreet numbers are required on all verandah fascia signs & building frontagesdispensations are required for all new signs located on the roof of a verandahas a general rule, signs should not cover more than 50% of the façade of a shop front, andnew controls for all new wall-mounted tavern-type signs in most retail areas. The panel also recommends that the council write to the Minister of Local Government requesting legislation which would enable it to issue infringement notices for breaches of the signs bylaw.

 

The council reviewed its signs & billboards bylaws under its Local Government Act obligations.

 

Earlier stories:

9 May 2007:Rules for the individual, rules for the community, rules on advertising….. and what’s missing? Aaaah, community spirit…..

20 April 2007: Bylaw panel hadn’t seen major billboard owner’s alternative

17 April 2007: Mulholland quits signage hearings panel over Fryer chairmanship

13 April 2007: Council names 2 chairmen for signs & billboards hearings as industry leaders claim they’ve been shut out

28 February 2007: Action Hobson joins advertising body with billboard compromise proposal

25 February 2007: Personalised attacks the way to change an opponent’s view? Or a way of entrenching opposition?

16 January 2007: Billboard industry says new report puts $136 million cost on bylaws change

13 December 2006: Decision on tough new sign & billboard laws this week

25 October 2006: Council opens anti-signage campaign in Queen St Valley

3 May 2006: Councillors get heavy on downtown signs again

14 December 2005: Bylaw review pending as councillors battle signs

22 July 2005: Hucker talks of community as the real consent customer as notion of “sensitive sites” register raised

11 April 2003: Growth planning, greening the city & billboards get councillors’ attention

19 August 2001: Committee determined to get billboard law before election

 

Want to comment? Click on The new BD Central Forum or email [email protected].

 

Attribution: Bylaws hearing, submissions, council & industry releases, story written by Bob Dey for this website.

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Rules for the individual, rules for the community, rules on advertising….. and what’s missing? Aaaah, community spirit…..

Published 9 May 2007: This article is a presentation of perspective containing some direct report of a hearing; the second half it is commentary

You can write rules in all sorts of ways, and that’s what billboard company APN Outdoor Ltd has done for Auckland City Council in a submission to the signs & billboards hearing.

But really, what APN and the rest of the billboard industry are hoping for is that the councillors promoting less advertising signage around the city will back off when they come to rewriting the bylaws.

The APN troupe, led by lawyer Simon Berry, told the bylaw hearing on 19 April the company had produced a wonderful alternative to the tough bylaws proposed by the council, essentially promoting a more authoritative version of the enforcement approach which hasn’t worked too well since the last battle over billboard bylaws, around 2000-03.

APN said its alternative would enable the council to achieve the controls it wants on the city’s visual amenity, but didn’t have time to present the full submission at the 19 April session of the hearing.

Back in the committee room on Monday, Mr Berry & supporting witnesses concentrated on revising wording rather than a whole new approach under the consent process of the Resource Management Act, the real alternative the company wants. The bylaws come under the Local Government Act.

Mr Berry acknowledged that, while opponents of the bylaws wanted an RMA process, they had to deal with the proposed bylaws in the meantime.

APN showed the commissioners a map of the central business district – a “reality” map, purple marking the areas where billboards would be permitted under the new bylaw, yellow where they wouldn’t be permitted and hached markings indicating places where there were “realistic constraints”.

 Like a billboard, the map gives an impression – of a city closing out billboards almost completely, except for the Victoria Quarter on the western fringe. But it accentuates the closing out by having the hached markings covering parks, the university, the whole of the container terminal and sidestreets where billboards wouldn’t be placed anyway.

One of the industry’s big criticisms of the proposed bylaws has been the cost to business – far greater in dollars & jobs than the council’s contractor had estimated. So Cllr Glenda Fryer, one of the 2 co-chairmen of the hearings (but not of this session) and the leading advocate of less signage, asked: “In your proposed bylaw, how many jobs do you think would be lost?”

Second APN Outdoor counsel Jennifer Vella responded: “We haven’t actually done the analysis.” And Mr Berry: “Obviously the impact would be much much less.”

Tim Simpkins, APN Outdoor general manager said tighter controls, combined with development of vacant sites around the downtown area, was reducing billboard opportunities, particularly for freestanding ones. His own company had lost 20 signs in the past 5 years.

Cllr Fryer said: “Billboard people are saying there are 50 sites we’re going to lose over a while. We (the council) have yet to see the 50 sites that are to go.”

Mr Simpkins: “There is no list that has been circulated… They will be lost to redevelopment.”

What’s it really about?

The proposed cleanup of signs & billboards would “undress” the city, leaving its buildings & streetscapes to present Auckland’s image. That accords with a view which deputy mayor Bruce Hucker expressed 2 years ago on the perception of who the customer really is when a resource consent is sought: The person applying for consent would normally think it’s them, but Cllr Hucker said a local authority regulated for the community, and it was the community that was really the customer.

Billboard operators have said there are plenty of Auckland building that need covering up, and their preference for Resource Management Act handling of applications would enable piecemeal consideration.

Mr Berry put it this way: “In that way, consideration of billboards can be the subject of democratic processes, both in relation to the promulgation of objectives, policies & rules to deal with billboards but also in the manner in which they are considered, which would enable:

(a) public notification of applications and the involvement of third parties

(b) affected-party notice & consultation, and

(c) rights of appeal to the Environment Court, where an applicant is dissatisfied with the decisions of the council.”

In terms of democracy, you can consider a bylaw establishing permitted areas for billboards in the same way as existing property zones, with one difference: The billboard bylaw wouldn’t allow the piecemeal approach, whereas under district plan zoning there is room for argument.

Bylaw opponents argue that existing-use rights preclude the approach the council has taken, and the threat is in the background that legal challenges will prevent the bylaws from coming into effect.

How, then, does a city reclaim itself in the Hucker version of life – that the customer is the community? Or in the concept of becoming a world-class city? This is another piece of the continuing battle between individual property rights, as proclaimed repeatedly by Citizens & Ratepayers Now councillor Doug Armstrong, and the rights of the wider community to say what a city or a suburb or a street should look like.

These are fundamental differences which, for the moment, leave the community-say team in charge, and busily so. Some controls over individual-property management were begun under the previous CitRats council and zoomed into place under the Hucker master-plan, pushed along by first-term Action Hobson councillor Christine Caughey in the case of heritage suburbs and by Cllr Fryer (and others) in the case of signage.

These people have a grand vision, whereas the more recent CitRat approach has been to look at only part of the picture, and to do so without any firmness. But does a grand vision get implemented without the support of those who matter most – citizens with sway, corporate leaders, imaginative & bold developers?

Vision doesn’t happen by committee decision, or by backroom dealings (as in the current waterfront process), or by imposition. It happens by picking a community up and winning its support.

I think the city should have the courage to display its buildings and, if they don’t stand scrutiny, to improve on them. Mostly, that means fewer signs. Ironically, I think some of the most skilful billboard writing around Auckland has been done during the bylaw protest, and mostly on billboards by Oggi, which the industry association tried to stand aside from.

That tells me that our billboard standard has been as mediocre as our building quality. A city with pride would have fewer – and better – billboard displays and would display a desire for its property industry to erect quality structures.

What’s missing is the desire of the community to show it wants quality. That takes me back to the start of this story, and a point made during Monday’s hearing by planning fixtures committee chairman (and bylaw hearing commissioner) Faye Storer: “People keep looking for loopholes, which is why we get more & more laws.”

The council can write rules. The community’s role is to demonstrate the desire for – demand – good taste.

Earlier stories:

20 April 2007: Bylaw panel hadn’t seen major billboard owner’s alternative

17 April 2007: Mulholland quits signage hearings panel over Fryer chairmanship

13 April 2007: Council names 2 chairmen for signs & billboards hearings as industry leaders claim they’ve been shut out

28 February 2007: Action Hobson joins advertising body with billboard compromise proposal

25 February 2007: Personalised attacks the way to change an opponent’s view? Or a way of entrenching opposition?

16 January 2007: Billboard industry says new report puts $136 million cost on bylaws change

13 December 2006: Decision on tough new sign & billboard laws this week

25 October 2006: Council opens anti-signage campaign in Queen St Valley

3 May 2006: Councillors get heavy on downtown signs again

14 December 2005: Bylaw review pending as councillors battle signs

22 July 2005: Hucker talks of community as the real consent customer as notion of “sensitive sites” register raised

11 April 2003: Growth planning, greening the city & billboards get councillors’ attention

19 August 2001: Committee determined to get billboard law before election

 

Want to comment? Click on The new BD Central Forum or email [email protected].

 

Attribution: Bylaws hearing, submissions, story written by Bob Dey for this website.

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“This lecture I am about to give you is not about billboards, I just happen to represent the billboards group”

Published 16 March 2007

 

Guaranteed to raise the hackles of councillors: A lecture on how to behave as a commissioner, given in a committee public forum by a barrister who used to act as the council’s solicitor.

 

This time, lawyer David Kirkpatrick was representing the Outdoor Advertising Association – but not, councillors had to understand, in relation to Auckland City Council’s proposed tougher signs & billboards bylaws, on which submissions closed on 2 March and hearings are set for April.

 

Mr Kirkpatrick told the committee: “I am not here to give you legal advice.” His presentation, he said, was about “good process for governance & bylaw reviews.”

 

City development general manager John Duthie had agreed to the presentation being given after “a quick flick through”.

 

A number of councillors questioned the propriety of it, given 4 of the committee would be commissioners hearing submissions & deliberating on the signs & billboards bylaws. Councillor commissioners Faye Storer & Graeme Mulholland, along with Cllr Neil Abel, left the room for the presentation but committee chairman Glenda Fryer, who is also to chair the hearings panel, remained firmly in place, as did Cllr Penny Sefuiva, who is also on the panel.

 

Mr Duthie said the signs & billboards bylaw review was one of “20 or so” the council would progressively work through. The next contentious one on the list will be the brothels bylaw.

 

When Mr Kirkpatrick was finally allowed to speak, he told the committee “perhaps you can just pretend at this stage I’m not a lawyer but, like Mr Kenny (Paul Kenny from the advertising association), an ordinary person.”

 

He also told the committee that, if they didn’t want to hear from people in the forum, “you should pack your bags and leave the room.”

 

But all the pretending in the world wasn’t going to divorce Mr Kirkpatrick’s “generic” presentation from the fact that the Outdoor Advertising Association’s members face a difficult future if the proposed signs & billboards bylaws are put in place as proposed, that the association has started campaigning hard against the proposed bylaws, and that a presentation such as this might have anything to do with the next – or any other – bylaw on the review list.

 

Cllr Abel put it this way: “Ultimately one has to ask, what is the purpose of this deputation? This is not the forum, in my view, for a presentation of this nature.”

 

And so to the lecture, which is what it was:

 

“Good governance in a democratic environment involves leadership & clear decision-making.

 

Democratic leadership involves setting a course without predetermining the destination – forging an agreement on shared objectives rather than compelling adherence to a particular position. The latter is a different kind of governance and one we do not have in New Zealand.

 

“Objectives relating to the wellbeing of people, the maintenance & enhancement of amenity values and protecting the character of the city are likely to be widely shared, and they are shared by me & the people I represent.

 

“Democratic decision-making involves identifying options and assessing all o their benefits & costs from a range of perspectives.

 

Options for achieving the shared objectives are as many & various as the facets of the city. A world-class city is not a single homogenous thing, but an organic whole that is more than the sum of its parts.

 

“Consultation is a method for identifying & examining options before making final decisions. There are many methods of consultation and the legislation does not impose limits on how best to consult in any particular case. The special consultative procedure is the statutory minimum, but not necessarily the best method.

 

“The nature of a city links stakeholders in many different ways: occupiers & visitors, property owners & tenants, classicists & modernists, sellers & buyers, those seeking work & those seeking play.

 

“Stakeholders have an ongoing role in decision-making – managing a city is not a ‘set & forget’ exercise.

 

“Starting with a conclusion and then working backwards is a fallacious method of analysis in any situation.

 

“Complex problems are not solved by binary ‘yes/no, off/on/stop/go’ choices.

 

“Point 11 is taken from the Bill of Rights Act: Rights & freedoms in New Zealand may only be subject to such reasonable limits prescribed by law as can be demonstrably justified in a free & democratic society.

 

“Regulatory responses should be the most appropriate way of addressing the perceived problem. An appropriate response is one that is proportionate to the problem it addresses – the punishment should fit the crime.

 

“Prohibition is a very significant regulatory response that should be reserved for very significant problems.

 

“One type of regulation will not likely fit all situations.

 

“One type of enforcement will not likely fit all types of offending.

 

“Before going to the most severe regulation or enforcement, you should ensure that all other responses have been tried and failed. You should be careful to see whether any failure is to do with the method of enforcement, or with a lack of enforcement.

 

“In all cases, you should identify whether there are other options that could achieve the benefits of the objective without incurring as much of the costs.

 

“The objective of the deputation is to ask that you work with stakeholders to achieve shared objectives by examining a range of option and making sure that any changes are needed before you make those changes, and this is something that will be developed specifically in the course of the hearings process next month.”

 

The proposed signs & billboards bylaws received 1748 submissions, 1522 of them opposed and most relating to billboards. Bylaw review programme manager Jonathan Anyon said 488 submitters wanted to address the hearings panel.

 

Hearing has been set down for 6 days in April – Monday-Friday 16-20 April, Monday 23 April and a day for deliberations on Thursday 26 April. Hearing on the first day will run from 1-8pm, with a range of times after that.

 

Earlier stories:

 

14 March 2007:Our own signs? They can stay

 

13 March 2007: No to backpackers sign 6 storeys up the backside of a Queen St building

 

13 March 2007: Councillors reject doubling of billboard beside motorway at Newmarket

 

12 March 2007: Signs bylaw submissions run 15:2 against

 

4 March 2007: Property Council berates city council over signage

 

2 March 2007: Council appoints one independent to signage bylaw panel  

 

28 February 2007: Action Hobson joins advertising body with billboard compromise proposal

 

25 February 2007: Personalised attacks the way to change an opponent’s view? Or a way of entrenching opposition?

 

26 January 2007: Council notifies 67-storey Dae Ju tower

 

16 January 2007: Billboard industry says new report puts $136 million cost on bylaws change

 

17 December 2006: Forget the billboards, admire the buildings, says council

 

17 December 2006: Plan is for new signs & billboards bylaws in May

 

25 October 2006: Council opens anti-signage campaign in Queen St Valley

 

17 May 2006: Pilot project finds slow signs compliance along Dominion Rd

 

 

Want to comment? Click on The new BD Central Forum or email [email protected].

 

 

Attribution: Council committee meeting & agenda, story written by Bob Dey for this website.

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Our own signs? They can stay

Published 13 March 2007


My short journey from my city shoebox to the Auckland City Council administration building – where the planning fixtures committee considers consent applications every week, and these days applications for dispensation from the signs & billboards bylaws as well – takes me past a few signs.


Well, lots of signs. There’s the big Coke billboard (generically, I refer to billboards as signs) splattered across the Queen St façade of the St James building, across & just down the street from the Town Hall. The council’s urban design panel recommended a glass apartment tower for that site rather than developer Paul Doole’s preference for the more solid look of masonry.


A fair indication, that recommendation, that urban design is very subjective – just like signage. If the urban design panel’s taste is preferred for that site, a gaudy poster for a drink should win a prize for best advertising on Queen St.


This morning’s walk to the committee room had me puzzling. ACB Holdings Ltd had applied for dispensation for a sign at the top of a wall 6 storeys up the back of its building, then asked for a deferral a couple of times. The sign is not especially visible and will be even more hidden once Dae Ju gets consent for its proposed 67-storey tower on the former Royal International site, facing Albert, Victoria & Elliot Sts. Was this sign of any consequence, I wondered?


The Auckland City Backpackers sign is visible from the bungy jump on Victoria St, and can be glimpsed between the Wilson’s Parking sign & one for the bungy at the corner of Albert St, but is otherwise hard to notice.


ACB’s project development manager, Mark Nicholson, said it was aimed at backpackers making their way down the hill from the Intercity bus station on the other side of the SkyCity casino & hotel building, or from the Northern Motorway.


The sign is at the top of a wall at the back of the Queen St building, so it can be seen across Darby & Elliot Sts. The wall is a drab old piece of concrete above the character 3-storey brick building at the corner of those 2 streets which once housed the Auckland Building Centre, these days a bar & a few shops.


Across Elliot St, a whole wall of the Atrium on Elliot complex is covered in signage – bright & cheerful, I have to admit, but councillors felt it created clutter and should go.


The prospect of new bylaws has a whole industry getting jittery at the possibility of major job losses, all so we can see buildings instead of advertising wallpaper.


One of the planning fixtures councillors, Glenda Fryer, heads the planning & regulatory committee, has led the campaign to seriously reduce the amount of signage around the city and will chair the hearings panel on the new bylaws.


Whether you like it or not she’s been taking a leadership role, something which is commendable in a politician. Then, on my journey back from the committee room today, I took out the camera a few times because I could see these other opportunities for leadership.


The Aotea Centre would be a good starting point. Would the council allow anybody else to plaster banners on the roof of their cbd building? With a sign that reads Auckland‘s best, in any event?


The councillors had just spent an hour talking about “wayfinding” as a justification for signage, and pretty much nothing else would do. Not wayfinding? It can come down.


Across the other side of Aotea Square, with former mayor Robbie shaking his fist at it, is the Town Hall. And well should Dover Myer Robinson be shaking his fist, because in the Town Hall window frames facing his statue are posters for Concert Hall performances.


Do we know where the Concert Hall is? Wouldn’t we have discovered what’s on there before entering the vicinity?


On my way back down Queen St I pass the Civic Theatre, a grand old building carefully revitalised. And what’s on the façade above the verandah but a very large sign promoting a coming event. Is that the way to treat a grand old dame of Queen St? Passers-by absent-mindedly looking up as they cross the street can see where they are by the large Civic lettering attached to the verandah. And if they’ve read their AK07 programmes they’ll know what’s on.


Whose are these buildings? The Town Hall belongs, of course, to the council. And, yes, so does the Civic.


There’s a chance, here, for a council that wants to demonstrate leadership to pull down these signs from its own buildings – especially heritage, character buildings on the main street – before there’s any further discussion on tougher bylaws. That would show the council was serious – no matter that these signs might be properly licensed.


Earlier & related stories:


 


13 March 2007: No to backpackers sign 6 storeys up the backside of a Queen St building


13 March 2007: Councillors reject doubling of billboard beside motorway at Newmarket


12 March 2007: Signs bylaw submissions run 15:2 against


4 March 2007: Property Council berates city council over signage


2 March 2007: Council appoints one independent to signage bylaw panel  


28 February 2007: Action Hobson joins advertising body with billboard compromise proposal


25 February 2007: Personalised attacks the way to change an opponent’s view? Or a way of entrenching opposition?


26 January 2007: Council notifies 67-storey Dae Ju tower


16 January 2007: Billboard industry says new report puts $136 million cost on bylaws change


17 December 2006: Forget the billboards, admire the buildings, says council


17 December 2006: Plan is for new signs & billboards bylaws in May


25 October 2006: Council opens anti-signage campaign in Queen St Valley


17 May 2006: Pilot project finds slow signs compliance along Dominion Rd


 


Want to comment? Click on The new BD Central Forum or email [email protected].


 


Attribution: Council committee meeting & agenda, story written by Bob Dey for this website.

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Signs bylaw submissions run 15:2 against

Published 12 March 2007


Auckland City Council has received more than 1700 submissions on proposed new signs & billboards bylaws in a 6-week consultation period.


Planning & regulatory committee chairman Glenda Fryer, who will also head the panel hearing submissions on the proposed bylaws, said a preliminary analysis showed about 200 written submissions favoured the draft bylaws, while around 1500 expressed opposition to the proposals.


“It’s rewarding to get such a large number of submissions and I’m pleased there’s such strong public interest in these bylaws, which influence how our city looks & feels. Submitters have come forward with a wealth of ideas that will give the hearings panel a lot to consider as they deliberate on the proposed bylaws,” Cllr Fryer said.


The hearings panel will convene in April to consider the detail of the draft bylaws & all submissions made on the proposals. All submitters have been given the option of addressing the panel.


The panel will make a recommendation on the bylaws to the full council later in the year.


The panel members are Cllrs Fryer, Faye Storer, Richard Northey, Graeme Mulholland & Penny Sefuiva and independent urban designer Garth Falconer.


The council is working to have all submissions available to view on its website as soon as possible.


Website: Auckland City Council, bylaws page


 


Earlier stories:


4 March 2007: Property Council berates city council over signage


2 March 2007: Council appoints one independent to signage bylaw panel  


28 February 2007: Action Hobson joins advertising body with billboard compromise proposal


25 February 2007: Personalised attacks the way to change an opponent’s view? Or a way of entrenching opposition?


16 January 2007: Billboard industry says new report puts $136 million cost on bylaws change


17 December 2006: Forget the billboards, admire the buildings, says council


17 December 2006: Plan is for new signs & billboards bylaws in May


25 October 2006: Council opens anti-signage campaign in Queen St Valley


17 May 2006: Pilot project finds slow signs compliance along Dominion Rd


 


Want to comment? Click on The new BD Central Forum or email [email protected].


 


Attribution: Company statement, story written by Bob Dey for this website.

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Property Council berates city council over signage

Published 4 March 2007


Property Council chief executive Connal Townsend described Auckland City Council’s consultation process on its proposed more stringent signs & billboards bylaws as “flawed & woefully inadequate”, in a submission delivered on Friday, the last day for public submissions.


Mr Townsend said the council had strained relationships with commercial property owners & investors in the city. He said it was “regrettably necessary” to criticise the council for failing to consult affected businesses & property owners about the economic impact of the changes.


“Auckland City Council’s proposed bylaws could cost property owners $120 million in lost revenue. At a time when rates are going up, development & financial contributions are squeezing margins and the spiralling cost of land threatens to make investing in new developments unaffordable, the council has come up with the policy that, if implemented, would effectively knock out entire businesses and destroy over 400 jobs.


“If that kind of economic impact doesn’t justify a comprehensive dialogue between Auckland City Council & affected stakeholders, then what does?


“The Property Council also questions whether the proposed bylaws could even be legally implemented. Businesses have a constitutional right to advertise and every person or organisation has the right to freedom of expression. The proposed bylaws significantly undermine the right to advertise, which is a point that further calls into question the legality of the changes.”


Mr Townsend said the Property Council recommended a number of amendments to the proposed bylaws designed to save jobs, encourage investment & contribute to the visual amenity of the city.


“As our submission points out, members of the Property Council participate in Auckland City Council’s urban design panel. Our members are willing to continue providing rigorous & well considered advice on the impact of outdoor signage from a visual-amenity & urban-design perspective. Let’s make the existing rules work, rather than apply a blanket ban on advertising.”


Among Property Council points:

A number of signs & billboards are “either of such poor design, or are in such bad taste, as to seriously detract from the built environment’s visual amenity. We are also concerned that they undermine the desirability of Auckland City as a destination for commercial property investment
The level of consultation with potentially affected stakeholders has been both scant & seriously inadequate
Neither the Property Council nor any of its significant property-owning members were contacted, let alone consulted, during the quite significant preparatory period leading up to the full council vote on the first draft bylaws
The Property Council is a member of the council’s CBD Board. The Property Council asked that the bylaws be placed on the CBD Board’s November agenda, but eventually the board got a first briefing the day after the full council had voted on them for the first time
At that board meeting it became apparent that any economic impact of the proposed billboard bylaw, in terms of the loss of income for building owners, had barely been considered: “In January 2007 we received a copy of the Covec report, originally received by the council in November. Whilst Covec superficially touched on the impact of the bylaws on property owners (estimating a multiplier of 1.87), the impact on owners was lumped in with real estate & building management at an estimated loss of 45 fulltime-equivalent jobs…… Throughout the entire process of the preparation of that report, neither Covec nor the council made any attempt to consult with the Property Council to test the rigour of those assumptions”
“We note that sections 155, 156 & 157 of the Local Government Act codify the process that ensures that before making a new bylaw or amending an existing bylaw, the relevant territorial authority consults with & obtains the views of the public. We understand that the formation of the Signs Advisory Group in 2006 was designed to provide stakeholders with the opportunity to have input prior to the matter being considered by the full council. However the special consultative procedure neither included the Property Council nor any of its members. The council made no effort to consult building owners. The process adopted by Auckland City Council to date is in contravention of sections 155, 156 & 157 of the Local Government Act. To clarify this point, any consultation process that does not enable a range of options & policy alternatives, and which involves a territorial authority that does not have an open mind as to the range of alternatives, could be construed as contrary to the statutory requirements of the Local Government Act”
Most, if not all, advertising signage mounted on historic buildings is particularly distasteful and detracts from the facade of significant & iconic pieces of real estate
The Property Council doesn’t believe the proposed bylaws are the appropriate mechanisms for controlling billboards & signage – particularly where these occur within the curtilage of a building. In such circumstances the sign or billboard is ‘part’ of the building. Approval in these circumstances should be granted or refused within the context of the overall design of the ‘parent’ structure
We have particular concerns about the billboard bylaw’s inherent assumption that ‘larger’ billboards will necessarily have a greater negative impact on visual amenity than smaller ones. This is completely fallacious. Ad captandum vulgus (to please the masses) arguments like this shouldn’t be used to create public policy. A large billboard may well be considered iconic & delightful in the eyes of a large majority of Auckland’s citizens. A smaller, and under the draft bylaw legal billboard, may be distasteful
The best approach is to view any & all billboards from the perspective of urban design – not size. In summary and contrary to the belief of the Signs Advisory Group – we submit that size doesn’t matter, but visual amenity does
The council should use the urban design panel, or a similar panel specifically created to evaluate signs & billboards, as a source of specialist input when determining whether or not an outdoor sign complies with ‘good urban design’ principles. Members of the Property Council participate in the urban design panel and are willing to assist the council by providing rigorous & well considered advice on the impact of outdoor signage from a visual amenity & urban design perspective
New technologies are being developed overseas that, sooner rather than later, will convert parts of the ‘external skin’ of both new & existing buildings into electronic ‘billboards’. It is probable that the first examples of this could appear in Australasia within 3 years. This will be achieved through the physical application of millions of minute light-emitting diodes (potentially powered by environmentally friendly roof-mounted photovoltaics). Our reading of the proposed bylaw is that any such development would not, legally, be a billboard. Nonetheless it is essential that Auckland City should be able to control any such developments, and the best mechanism for this would be by means of an urban design assessment
As a general principle, the city council should adopt a policy for billboards & signage through the annual plan/long-term council community plan, as opposed to bylaws
Any policy should provide the applicant with the right to appeal based on the merit of the council’s decision
The economic consequences of the proposed bylaws can’t be fully quantified until that bylaw is enacted & enforced
The Property Council is broadly sympathetic to the updated economic analysis submitted by Brent Wheeler Ltd, which contemplates the financial cost of the proposed bylaw (excluding the increased cost in enforcement, which is yet to be quantified) at $79.658 million, and the loss of 413 fulltime-equivalent jobs in the billboard, design, property & construction industries (but doesn’t take into account the creation of ratepayer-funded positions for more enforcement officers)
The economic analysis takes into account the proposed reduction of wall space permitted to be used for signage on businesses from 50% to 20%
The Property Council hasn’t yet quantified the full extent of the loss of equity in commercial property if the proposed bylaw were to be enacted. As a simple commercial transaction, many commercial building owners lease space on their buildings to billboard providers, who pay a premium for that space
On the assumption that enactment of the proposed bylaw would impact on 431 existing sites, a $120.9 million reduction in value to property is not unrealistic
The Property Council may be more amenable to the proposed bylaw if the council complemented that proposal with the payment of $120.9 million in compensation to property owners
The Property Council doesn’t believe the enactment of the proposed bylaw would result in advertisers ‘substituting’ to other parts of the advertising industry
The city council hasn’t accurately quantified the economic benefits (if any) of the proposed bylaw, to presumably offset the likely economic cost
Section 155(3) of the Local Government Act specifies that “no bylaw may be made which is inconsistent with the Bill of Rights Act, notwithstanding section 4 of that act”. The council acknowledges in its own background paper that the proposed bylaw is ultra vires section 14 of the Bill of Rights Act (freedom of expression), although the council concludes that the impact of the bylaw on the right to freedom of expression is “not seen as significant”. This proposition is not based on credible analysis of the impact of the loss of outdoor advertising & signage on private enterprise. The council has failed to demonstrate rigorous analysis which clarifies that the proposed bylaw will not have a disproportionate & disadvantageous impact on the private sector through the restriction of an important advertising medium
The proposed bylaw would result in about 75% of commercial billboards & advertising signage being banned within 12-18 months. Such a massive impact will grossly infringe on the constitutional right of businesses to advertise
Section 5 of the Bill of Rights Act states that the rights & freedoms contained in that act “… may be subject only to such reasonable limits prescribed by law as can be demonstrably justified in a free & democratic society”. The loss of three-quarters of a significant advertising medium in less than 2 years cannot be justifiable as being a “reasonable limit” consistent with that section
About $750,000-worth of sponsorship & advertising/year is provided to charities & not-for-profit community organisations through outdoor billboards & signage. The Property Council would describe any decision by an elected official to enact a bylaw that eliminates an important means of sponsorship to organisations such as The Royal NZ Ballet, Women’s Refuge & World Vision as, at best, ‘politically courageous’.

Recommended amendments


The Property Council:

recommends amending the explanatory note which reflects a set of rules “controlling & regulating billboards” to one that “provides for outdoor signage where appropriate”
says the explanatory note should reflect a set of objectives against which any objectives will be assessed
recommends deleting clause 27B.1, as that clause would remove the “savings provisions” for billboards lawfully erected before enactment of the existing bylaw and would require all billboards that don’t comply with the provisions of a new billboard to be removed within 12 or 18 months
supports inclusion of “savings provisions” as being consistent with the Property Council’s general support of existing use rights. Abolition of “savings provisions” is disadvantageous to property owners in particular, who would face a loss of value if the proposed bylaw were to be implemented. Abolition of “savings provisions” is a disproportionate response to the issues & concerns raised by the council in relation to the existing bylaw &/or the behaviour of certain players within the outdoor advertising industry
supports a requirement for billboards to be registered
supports a new clause providing for the registration of a billboard disused for 60 days to automatically lapse
through its overriding support for existing use & private property rights, seeks an amendment to clause 27B.7 (Amenity impact assessment). The council’s power to remove billboards from anywhere within the city is excessive and doesn’t provide certainty of tenure to property owners or billboard owners/operators. The council’s powers should be limited to new billboard sites (as opposed to billboard sites that are lawfully consented pursuant to the existing bylaw),which are judged to be inconsistent with the objectives in the bylaw explanatory note (including the provisions pertaining to visual amenity & the character of the natural & built environment).

Earlier stories:


2 March 2007: Council appoints one independent to signage bylaw panel  


28 February 2007: Action Hobson joins advertising body with billboard compromise proposal


25 February 2007: Personalised attacks the way to change an opponent’s view? Or a way of entrenching opposition?


16 January 2007: Billboard industry says new report puts $136 million cost on bylaws change


17 December 2006: Forget the billboards, admire the buildings, says council


17 December 2006: Plan is for new signs & billboards bylaws in May


25 October 2006: Council opens anti-signage campaign in Queen St Valley


17 May 2006: Pilot project finds slow signs compliance along Dominion Rd


 


Want to comment? Click on The new BD Central Forum or email [email protected].


 


Attribution: Property Council release, story written by Bob Dey for this website.


Forum comment


I’ve run a comment on The new BD Central Forum about the Property Council’s points: “I see existing-use rights as the central point of argument. And I see claims made under the Bill of Rights as good for hot air but not much use in the protection of freedom of expression.


“If councils can’t determine the location for expression, you’d be able to write whatever you like anywhere. I haven’t dug up a piece of legislation to support that “anywhere-you-like’ contention – if there isn’t one we have a free-for-all (excluding defamation), which doesn’t seem likely in a country where, despite the Bill of Rights Act, your rights are thoroughly regulated because ‘order must prevail’.


In an earlier article I made this comment: ‘The whole billboard industry campaign has been built on a right – much as the smoker had the right to smoke wherever and the non-smoker had the right to try to escape. The campaign against billboards & other signage has been based primarily on visual pollution, and sometimes on the notion that excessive signage might actually make the message hard to see.’


“From this, you will see, I question the whole notion of rights in this sort of dispute. You can argue for conflicting ‘rights’.


“Like the Property Council, the outdoor advertising industry complained about the lack of consultation with affected parties. Property Council chief executive Connal Townsend has cited sections 155, 156 & 157 of the Local Government Act to prove his point that the council hasn’t consulted properly. But they refer to public consultation and he’s talking about sectional interests. The council advertised for submissions, which closed on Friday 2 March. A hearings panel will listen to submissions: There is public consultation, although it may not be to the level particular interests want.”

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