Sign, sign everywhere a sign |

Sign, sign everywhere a sign

Don Kanare and Sabrina Belleci
Special to the Tribune
Don Kanare and Sabrina Belleci, ReMax Realty

We regularly get some interesting e-mails and phone calls along with questions concerning the wildly diverse types of signs you find in the commercial corridor around the lake.

While residential real estate agents are required to adhere to a specific (and somewhat limiting) maximum size for our “For Sale” and “Open House” signs, other businesses and those engaged in commercial real estate leasing and sales are permitted to operate on a wider playing field.

In general, the newer commercial developments in the basin have very nice consistent signs with businesses clearly labeled. In locations such as the main shopping areas, the signs are easily readable yet blend in nicely with the architecture and color scheme.

Some merchants have taken to using sandwich boards placed along highways and main crossroads in an effort to market their products and services and increase their visibility. This practice had been limited to Fridays through Sundays for many years, but with the upward trend in the economy numerous businesses are leaving out sandwich board signs seven days a week and overnight.

In an ideal world, all of the commercial properties in town would have easily readable, visible signs so that customers can quickly find them. However, due to the configuration of the various strip malls, shopping centers and other commercial developments, the use of sandwich boards has actually become somewhat of an important marketing tool for small businesses, especially those in locations not easily seen from the street.

One of the concerns voiced by locals over the years has been the extremely large banners advertising commercial space for rent. While the size of permanent commercial signs is regulated by the five different counties and the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency, temporary signs that advertise commercial space for rent do not have to adhere to those size limits.

If there were some size consistency or uniformity to all of the “For Lease/Sale” signs it would make things much more visually appealing along the highways and corridors through the center of our towns. But with the significant amount of commercial space available for rent, it’s unlikely that these large banners will disappear entirely anytime soon.

Residential property owners are not immune to contributing to “sign blight” at Lake Tahoe. During the spring and summer, signs advertising garage sales sprout from telephone poles and light posts all around the lake. While some folks are diligent and make the effort to remove every sign after their yard sale is over, others just let them blow in the wind until they become litter along the highway.

With the highway patrol handing out so many speeding tickets and DUI infractions, maybe some of the people doing community service can remove the outdated garage sale signs while they are picking up litter along the roadside.

Many owners of commercial buildings allow “lighted” signs for business. I know that the neighboring residential homes to commercial areas would really appreciate the visual improvement when they look out their windows, especially while enjoying the beautiful Tahoe sunsets, if these were turned off after business hours.

It would be great if each commercial landlord and business establishment would take a look at their sign(s) and determine the best way to promote their business while creating an aesthetically pleasing and cohesive effect in the community.

Sabrina Belleci and Don Kanare are the owners of RE/MAX North Lake. Read their blog and find weekly stats on their website at

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