Right now, GM is working on an effort in behalf of CAG to address some of the poor signage in the neighborhood. You may not realize it, but every single sign in Georgetown needs a permit. Depending on how long that sign is up, that permit needs to be approved by either the D.C. Historic Preservation Office (for signs up 30 days or less) or the Old Georgetown Board (for signs up 30 days or more).
In practice, this is a rule observed mostly in the breach. While most significant store signs do go through the proper approval process, most of the cheap and (frankly) ugly signs like the ones above don’t. So to address the proliferation of non-permitted signs, CAG is working with the BID and other to educate the storekeepers about the rules (see this circular) and to catalog the worst offenders for reporting to the Historical Preservation Office.
Since there are so few enforcement officers at the HPO, it’s up to others to report violations to them. So that’s what CAG’s in the process of doing. The are some of the categories of non-permitted signs that CAG is specifically targeting:
- Billboards (like the ones that used to grace EastBanc’s buildings on the west end of M St.)
- Signs in the public space (e.g. signs on the Whitehurst Freeway supports)
- Sandwich boards blocking the sidewalk (this one’s actually a DDOT issue, and it’s a tad tricky since the regs may be changing, but nonetheless, they can be a big problem in Georgetown and the problem ones ought to be addressed)
- Other bad non-permitted signs (e.g. neon signs, things like the Garfield thing above, all those fake “GOING OUT OF BUSINESS” signs, etc.)
So to that end, if there are any particularly bad signs that you’d like the HPO to take a look at, take a photo and send it to editor(at)Georgetownmetropolitan(dot)com, or just mention it in the comments.