Sign ordinance in Tomball to 'unclutter' cityscape

At its Nov. 5 meeting, Tomball City Council approved an ordinance restricting what types of signs residents and commercial businesses can display on their property. Among the list of prohibited items is bandit signsthe smaller signs usually placed on the sides of roads.

City Planner Rebeca Guerra said the ordinance includes some exceptions for nonprofit and charitable organizations, but in general bans large signs from dominating space around Tomball for an extended period of time.

"Our hope is that this sign ordinance will improve the overall look of the city," she said. "We want to remove as much of the visual clutter as possible and direct people to businesses instead of distracting them. It should also make it safer to drive."

The ordinance went info effect Nov. 19, and residents have 120 days, or about four months, to align their signs with the new rules and restrictions. Failure to do so will result in a citation and a possible request to remove the sign, depending on the situation.

There will be no new billboards added in the city limits, and any left without a message for 120 days will be cited and notified it must be removed. Any banners will only be allowed for two weeks unless it is for a civic event or function by a nonprofit organization, Guerra said, such as a church festival or farmers market. Human signs, where individuals stand on street corners holding or wearing signage, are also prohibited.