As many of you know, the City of San Antonio’s updated sign ordinance went into effect the first weekend in July. Since there has been some confusion, I wanted to share with you why this ordinance was passed, and how it is a win for REALTORS®. In fact, SABOR’s diligent work with the city actually protected the rights for REALTORS® to use temporary off-premise signs to market their properties and made the permits more affordable than ever.
Although the sign rules feel new to REALTORS®, the City of San Antonio’s sign ordinance has always required sign permits for off-premise temporary signs, including open house and directional signs. The reason this requirement was largely unknown is the city did not actively enforce the ordinance on temporary real estate signs. The city would likely have continued on that path if not for the United States Supreme Court, who recently made it unconstitutional for cities to treat certain signs differently based on content.
The Supreme Court case, Reed v. Town of Gilbert, requires cities to treat the content of all signs equally and only allows cities to regulate signage based on time, place, and manner. As a result, San Antonio began enforcing the permit requirements for off-premise temporary signs equally.
However, under the old sign ordinance, the permit fee for temporary off-premise signs was $50 per instance, which means that every time a REALTOR® needed to promote an open house it would have required a $50 permit. I think we can all agree this was unacceptable for the REALTOR® community which is why SABOR got to work.
Thanks to the efforts of SABOR’s Government Affairs committees, open house and directional signs can continue to be placed as before when accompanied by a City of San Antonio permit and decal. The permit is $50 per 12-months and can be held by an individual or a company. Each accompanying decal is $5 per sign and is also good for 12-months. There are no other substantive changes governing the size, location, or time that signs can be placed advertising an event like an open house.
Also, because of the tremendous amount of confusion regarding the ordinance we have convinced the city to delay enforcement until October 1.
No ordinance is perfect and SABOR is committed to working with the city to make ours better. If you have feedback about the ordinance please email SABOR’s Government Affairs department.
We all have the same goal, to make San Antonio a desirable place to buy and sell property. With your help, I have no doubt we will succeed.
2017 Chairman of the Board
San Antonio Board of REALTORS®