This week the City and Borough of Juneau Assembly took up discussion on an ongoing problem in downtown Juneau — visual pollution. Put simply, there are signs peppering the downtown corridor that openly violate CBJ ordinances.
But frankly, these offenders have no reason to stop. With a fine for an illegal sign being less than the permit to have a legal one, why would they? Plus, there’s little enforcement, according to testimony at Monday’s meeting.
It’s a lot like raising kids — if you tell them the rules but don’t enforce them and create zero incentive to follow them, those rules will eventually be ignored.
Yet, the majority of the Assembly disappointed us when it came to dealing with this issue, voting to table a final decision on the ordinance until the body’s next meeting. We’d like to see a swift resolution this summer. The downtown corridor is the face of Juneau and right now it’s marred with blemishes that scream things like “Last-chance sale!” — “Real Alaska gold!” — “Suicide Sale; Our prices will either kill us or our competition!”
The ordinance was tabled due to lack of clarity in the wording. We’re with those who voted not to delay action and we share the same concerns — the measure isn’t perfect but it’s a good start toward fixing the problem.
In the meantime, our historic downtown will continue to flash its kitschy signage. We can only hope visitors are able to look beyond the poor taste of the signs — beyond the pink flamingos and garden gnomes, so to speak — and see Juneau as the Emerald City that it is and not confuse us with stereotypical tourism traps.
— Juneau Empire,