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Must stay in front of business theyre advertising
The Athens Burger temporary sign would be legal under proposed municipal rules. - photo by HIME ROMERO

Mr. Pickle may be in a pickle under proposed changes to the Manteca sign ordinance.

Municipal law does not currently address “human signs” that have become popular in recent years. Nor does it address the proliferation of A-frame signs or flag banners typically placed in holes pre-drilled for the display of 2,400 American flags on special occasions throughout the year by the Manteca Chamber of Commerce.

The proposed changes being reviewed during a workshop at Tuesday’s Manteca Planning Commission will allow human signs. But there are conditions that could render some existing human signs illegal.

Those conditions include human signs:

•must be located on the property of the business that they are advertising or on the sidewalk adjacent to the property.

•must not interfere with pedestrians, cyclists, or vehicular traffic or impact visibility.

•worn, carried, or held shall not be larger than 12 square feet.

•cannot shout or generate any noise that would disrupt traffic or endanger pedestrians. Bull horns and amplified sound are prohibited.

•are restricted to one per location.

•are prohibited from having any type of animation flashing, blinking, rotating lights, or mirrors.

•must obtain a permit from city hall and pay the appropriate fee.

Under the proposed guidelines at least five human signs in Manteca would be illegal.

They include Mr. Pickle, Edible Arrangements, as well as the gold and jewelry store that routinely populate the corner of East Yosemite Avenue and Commerce Avenue. None of the three are in front of the business they advertise or on the sidewalk that borders their place of employment. The Liberty Tax Service and Little Caesar’s Pizza human signs at the Louise Avenue and North Main Street would be illegal for the same reason.

There are also times human signs appear at South Main Street and Industrial Park Drive. They too would be illegal unless they were connected with Arco, Chevron or Jack-in-the-Box.

A-frame and flag signs would have to be placed in such a manner as to allow four feet of sidewalk to remain open plus be set a foot back from the curb. Often times signs - such as one often placed by Del Taco at Yosemite and Spreckels - are placed in the middle of the sidewalk leaving less than four feet on either side.

The signs can only be placed in front of the business they are advertising. Each business can only have one A-frame sign or two flag signs per 50 linear feet of business frontage. They cannot be placed on landscaped islands or medians within the public right-of-way.

A-frame signs can’t be over four feet in height and flag banners can’t exceed 15 feet.

A-frames can’t be wider than three feet while flags are limited to two feet in width.

The proposed rule changes were hammered out by an ad hoc citizens committee existing of business owner Ed Fonseca, Manteca Republican Women Federated President Lin Silverman, business owner Crystal Downs, and former council member Jack Snyder.

The Planning Commission meets at 7 p.m. Tuesday at the Civic Center, 1001 W. Center St.