Wednesday, 16 May 2012 01:50

Jackson City Council to draft sign shop excemption from sign ordinance

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Amador County – The Jackson City Council directed staff to work on a draft ordinance for possible exemptions to the city sign code for sign manufacturers Monday.

Kam Merzlak, of Merzlak Signs sought clarification from Mayor Pat Crew on whether signs he was working on at his shop violated new city code, approved in March. City Manager Mike Daly in a letter to Merzlak said political signs that were larger than 16 square feet would violate the new code. Merzlak was worried he could be affected when working on 32 square foot signs as allowed in unincorporated areas of the county.

Bret Lewis said: “I flew in from Alabama just to attend today.” He learned to be an entrepreneur from Ralph Merzlak, and is a professional hand-letterer of signs, which he said is a “forgotten art.” He said it takes three days for primer to dry. Multiple layers of oil paint need three days to dry and you cannot paint over wet paint.

He said 20-year-old signs painted by Ralph Merzlak are still up in Jackson: “You guys are passionate about council seats. I’m passionate about hand-painted signs.” He encouraged the council to allow sign shops not to be required to comply with the sign ordinance if they are working on a sign.

Councilman Keith Sweet thought there was a compromise, and he asked why Kam Merzlak had not met with the city attorney in the 18 months since the complaint first occurred. Sweet said they weren’t talking about whether a sign maker makes a sign, “we’re talking about temporary signs identified as political signs.” He asked: “When is it not his work product and when does it become the property of the customer?”

Jeff Aaron, counsel for the California Sign Makers’ Association said in his opinion, it belonged to the manufacturer until it was paid for. Sweet said Merzlak Signs allowed him to display his political sign at the corner, after his purchase. He did it, and his opponent did it. 

Sweet said: “I took advantage of it” but “it is not right in offering it.” He said it was a business practice they had been doing since 1992. Aaron said “it’s a sticky thicket” all around California.

Kam Merzlak said “there is a rule at our shop. The sign is not paid for until it is picked up,” unless the customer has taken a “managerial” position and changed that. Merzlak said drying is part of working.

Sharon Merzlak said she has been in the business 30 years. They also leave signs outside for people to pick up. And she said since John Begovich was in office, he clued in everyone on the shop’s policy.

Story by Jim Reece This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Read 919 times Last modified on Wednesday, 16 May 2012 02:10