A reader wants to start a small business from her home and would like to know to what extent she can erect signage adjacent to the residence to advertise her operation.
She says her house is built in a way that permits a dedicated entrance to the business and a distinctive separation from the main dwelling.
The part of the building to be used for the business can be seen from the street and she would like to use this visibility to promote her operation.
See the reader’s question here.
She adds that there are a number of businesses that operate in her residential area.
Many of them, she says, have substantial signage on the walls of their dwellings and on the verges.
An often ignored statute is the Advertising on Roads and Ribbon Act.
The act seeks to regulate the display of advertisements outside certain urban areas in places visible from public roads.
Section two sets out the primary prohibition which is subject to certain provisions and exceptions.
No person shall display an advertisement which is visible from a public road unless it is displayed in accordance with the written permission of the relevant controlling authority.
The provision is, however, subject to the exceptions mentioned in section six of the act.
This states that the prohibition is not applicable to advertisements in urban areas, as well as areas generally falling under the jurisdiction of city or municipal councils.
Such advertisements are accordingly dealt with on a local level in by-laws dealing with the display of signage.
The by-laws of local authorities are fairly detailed and deal with all types of advertising devices.
These include billboards, banners, flags, and signs on windows and walls, including those painted on walls.
The by-law typically includes a similar prohibitive section, such as that set out in the act, and generally rules that no person may display any sign without the necessary municipal consent.
The local authority will usually prescribe one or more forms that are required in order for a person to apply for the necessary consent.
Consent is usually denied where a sign may be prejudicial to the environment or neighbourhood.
This is when it may constitute a danger, may obscure other signs or be unsightly, or where it possibly impairs the visibility of a road traffic sign.
It may also be necessary to supply, with the application, an indication of what the sign will look like by way of a drawing or diagram.
The reader should begin by carefully considering the signage she intends to make use of and exactly where she intends to display it.
Upon deciding she should then investigate the applicable legislation, specifically the by-law in her area that may be relevant to its display.
If the signage she wants to display is listed, the relevant provisions of the by-law will apply.
However, even if her intended signage does not appear in the applicable by-law, it does not mean that consent is not required.
A catch-all regulation is often included to make provision for forms of signage yet to be invented or used.
The by-law may also set out certain provisions relating to the manner in which the signage is to be made to ensure, for example, its safe construction and erection.
The use and display of an illegal sign may result in proceedings taken by the local authority against the advertiser.
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