A few weeks ago I wrote about driving to the end of the new road on North Ambergris Caye… and how one of the results of progress on the transportation front has been the proliferation of signs… EVERYWHERE!!!
Cute fun signs…
Big overcrowded signs…
Signs so charming that many stop to take a picture…
And those completely devoid of all San Pedro charm.
Residents and tourists alike have voiced their concerns that the excessive signage distracts from the charm and tropical feel of the island we all love. These concerns thankfully, have not fallen on deaf ears as the San Pedro Town Board was quick to recognize the problem.
In an interview with the San Pedro Sun, Mayor Danny Guerrero voiced that he “shares the concerns he’s hearing and that he is against signs that go against the island’s charm.”
“I am of the idea that painted signs look much better than those large electronic screens flashing neon lights… We want signs that will blend in with the island,” said the Mayor to the SP Sun.
The mayor further explained, “There ARE laws in regards to putting up signs but they are mostly for signs being put up on public property… We want to create a bylaw to the mother act on the laws on putting up signs. This new regulation would require anyone that wishes to put up a sign to get a special permit from the SPTC. The regulation would outline the size and type of sign that can be placed.”
And the good news?
Well…last weekend while the rest of La Isla Bonita was busy celebrating The Easter…
A group of individuals from both the public and private sector met. Spearheaded by Deputy Mayor Gary Grief, Town Concilor in charge of Housing and Planning Gabriel “Gaby” Nunez, trusted realtor and AREBB leader William Board and noted sign artist Denroy “Smurf” Norales, an advisory committee was formed, the Ambergris Sign Supervisory for Hospitality And Tourism.
Set to function alongside the Ambergris Caye Building Authority, approval for ALL new signage on the island will fall under this newly formed committee. New signs will need to be permitted and will be subject to aesthetic approval and density restrictions.
“The first step in addressing the problem is creating awareness,” said the Board. “A lot of people are not yet aware of the new regulations, so the first step we need to take is an educational one.”
“We have identified 120 high traffic, highly visible areas and intersections on the island,” explained Board. “We will be placing signs at these locations, signs which explain to residents that all signs, regardless of size, must get approval.” Cautioned Board, “Spontaneous sign erection is something that will not be tolerated.”
Much like new construction projects on the island, properly approved signs will be identified with a small sign showing the sign permit number, to be posted in a clearly visible manner next to the sign.
Due to anticipated demand, a contract for 5000 numbered approval signs was awarded to “Smurf”, the costs having been paid in full in advance by a grant from the Republic of Taiwan.
“The signs,” Smurf said, “should be done in a couple weeks.”
Island residents are encouraged to attend the next committee meeting, to be held Wednesday, May 18th at Sunbreeze Hotel. Following the meeting, the public is invited to enjoy the music of Rompe Raja as well as refreshments and cupcakes.