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Old Town Virtual Task Force

Information about the Old Town Virtual Task Force.


Based on the input and recommendations of the Old Town Virtual Task Force, amendments to the Old Town Historic Overlay Zone (HOZ) regulations have been drafted and will be introduced at the March 4 City Council meeting.  (Note that Council does not discuss or hold a hearing on a bill when it is introduced.) 

The bill, O-19-52, will be referred to the Landmarks Commission for a hearing at their April 10 meeting.  It will subsequently have hearings at the Environmental Planning Commission and the Council’s Land Use Planning & Zoning committee before be heard by full Council.

Each of these hearings are an opportunity for the Task Force and Old Town property owners and merchants to continue to provide input on the proposed regulations.  Comments may be submitted in writing in advance or made during public comment at each of the hearings.  We will keep this site updated as future hearings are scheduled.

Summary of Proposed Changes

Old Town Revisions Summary

  • The ordinance proposes revisions to the Old Town – HPO 5 in response to the online task force held in 2018 on regulations for Old Town signage.
  • The general feedback from the task force was:
    • Want sandwich boards (Portable Signs in the IDO)
    • Want more signage in terms of number and size
    • Want to be allowed limited outdoor display and demonstration
    • Small lit signs should be allowed, like the “open” signs
  • The proposed ordinance makes the following changes:
    • Updates references to Old Town – HPO 5 in the Old Town Solicitations Ordinance.
    • Relocates the regulations on Outdoor Display to Old Town – HPO 5, and clarifies and revises the language for the outdoor display of retail goods.
    • Removes the prohibition on Portable Signs for Old Town.
    • Adds the regulations on Outdoor Demonstration from the H1 Zone to the Old Town – HPO 5.
    • Revises the regulations on signs to allow for:
      • Portable signs (i.e. sandwich boards),
      • Increases the numbers of signs allowed,
      • Increases sign sizes,
      • Allows small neon signs in doors or windows, and
      • Increased sign size for establishments on the 2nd
    • Updates sign terminology to reflect the IDO and general reformatting of the changes to make the regulations easier to follow, enforce, and understand.
  • The ordinance will be reviewed and receive recommendation from the Landmarks Commission, the Environmental Planning Commission, and adoption through the City Council.
    • The Landmarks Commission is anticipated to review the proposed ordinance on April 10th, 2019.
    • Subsequent to this it will be reviewed by the Environmental Planning Commission, and then the Land Use, Planning, and Zoning Subcommittee of the City Council, and finally by the full City Council.
  • The ordinance is proposed to go into effect January 31st, 2020, or when the 2019 IDO Annual Update goes into effect, whichever first occurs. This will:
    • Avoid confusion with parallel documents while the IDO goes through the annual update process.
    • Will allow time for the Planning Department to prepare an Old Town sign, display, and demonstration handout to help the public to better understand the regulations.


At a public meeting held on March 20, 2018 to address zoning regulations and code enforcement in the Old Town Historic Overlay Zone (HOZ), merchants and property owners in Old Town expressed a desire to make recommendations to amend zoning regulations in Old Town.  Particular concern was expressed with regard to existing regulations on outdoor displays, signage, and outdoor demonstrations.

Since April, City Council staff and the Planning Department’s Code Enforcement and Historic Preservation Divisions have been coordinating a virtual task force aimed at collecting community input from Old Town stakeholders surrounding current Integrated Development Ordinance (IDO) regulations related to the topics of 1) Outdoor Displays, 2) Signs, and 3) Outdoor Demonstrations within the Old Town HOZ.  This task force was coordinated online with the goal of maximizing participation as well as reducing the amount of time required to complete the work.  The City’s website was used as the venue for City Council staff to provide participating task force members access to current regulations related to Old Town and also for staff to collect information through a series of online input sessions and tasks.  Members of the community who wanted to participate in the task force first had to identify themselves as business owners, property owners, and residents in order to login into the website and provide their input. 

For each topic, two tasks were completed by participating task force members over the course of one to two weeks, depending on the complexity of each topic.  The first task was to review current language in the zoning code related to the topic at hand and to provide input on how these regulations might be amended. This information review and input included a series of questions that could be submitted along with comments and recommendations through an online form. City Council staff consolidated this input to post back on the City’s website for participating task force members to complete their second task.  This second task involved ranking all of the recommendations provided by participating members during the first task to identify potential opportunities for making amendments to the IDO. While each task had a deadline, participation did not require attendance at meetings and occurred on each individual’s own time and according to their interest in each task.  Participants were given the opportunity to provide long answers and comments for certain questions in each topic – these answers and comments are included in the Appendix at the end of this report. 

The following reports include summaries of the results from the task force’s second task for each topic in graph form.  City Council and Planning Department staff will be working to draft potential amendments to the IDO informed by these recommendations.

Topic 1: Outdoor Displays

Topic 2: Signs

Topic 3: Outdoor Demonstrations

* Note: There were 12 participants in Topic 3, not 7 as listed in the pdf.