City of Stirling council to restart lengthy legal process over real estate signage clause

A City of Stirling ranger seizing non-compliant real estate signage. Picture: Nathan Lynch/Thomson Reuters
A City of Stirling ranger seizing non-compliant real estate signage. Picture: Nathan Lynch/Thomson Reuters

CONCERN about a clause that would “relax” restrictions on real estate signage has prompted Stirling council to restart a lengthy legal process.

Councillors considered changes to portable signage and verge treatment requirements at Tuesday’s council meeting as part of the proposed new Thoroughfares and Public Places Local Law.

Councillor Stephanie Proud urged council to replace the existing 2009 law because the City was already “behind”, as local laws were required to be reviewed every eight years, and public consultation was first conducted last July.

She argued that it was twice advertised for public comment with no responses, and said amendments could be made to the law at any time.

But Cr Karen Caddy disagreed with the proposed clause requiring portable ‘home open’ signs be removed on the day of the viewing rather than within the hours of inspection.

The sign must display the day and time of the home open, a directional arrow and real estate agent’s name.

“There’s a lot of ambush marketing happening, particularly in Scarborough, with agents paying contractors to put out signs on Friday night and remove them on Sunday,” she said.

“The City is doing a great job on clamping down on it but this would relax it.”

It comes after City community safety manager Laurie Crouch said non-compliant portable signage was “firmly on the City’s radar”.

Cr Giovanni Italiano was concerned that if the matter was not resolved it would be another year before it could be adopted, because the City would need to restart the local lawmaking process as the timeframe had exceeded 12 months.

In February, council deferred a decision to allow for councillor workshops but Cr Suzanne Migdale said only one occurred that “barely touched on” the law implications.

City Corporate Compliance co-ordinator John Beaton said if adopted, council could later make changes to the law but admitted it would take up to nine months to take effect.

Cr Keith Sargent advocated for the council to “get on and do” it.

“I have a problem with holding up the whole local law because of a clause changing from one hour to 24 hours,” he said.

But Crs Sargent, Proud, Italiano, David Boothman, Andew Guilfoyle and Karlo Perkov were outvoted and instead Cr Caddy’s motion passed to not adopt it.

Council resolved to start a fresh review of the law, hold a community forum, councillor workshops and consultation with building and business representatives, and review best practice in other local governments.

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