Dear Tucson Remnant (the few remaining with civic pride):
See the sign in the photo below and attached. There were four of them at the intersection of Sunrise and Kolb this morning, and no doubt scores of them in other parts of the metropolis. It’s an intersection that my wife and I keep clean on our daily walks, along with three miles of road. I also coordinate with the county on the removal of illegal, tacky signs. Note the words “Arizona Daily Star” on the sign. Does the Star endorse the planting of commercial signs along public rights-of-way? Can I plant signs for my business?
Incidentally, the initials “SAHBA” stand for Southern Arizona Homebuilders Association.
My comments continue below the photo.
There’s no nice way to say this, so I’ll just say it: One reason metro Tucson is mostly an economic backwater and poorer than most other Sunbelt metropolises is that it has lousy curbside appeal, resulting from a proliferation of illegal signs, litter, horrible roads, and unkempt properties. One would think that a home builders’ association would understand this and do something about it, if for no other reason than self-interest.
Such signs are telling. They show the longstanding political power of the local real estate industry, an industry that is responsible for decades of ugly development and shortsighted zoning and code enforcement, including forests of ugly commercial signage in the city, miles of strip malls in the city and county with little or no landscaping and trees, residential and commercial property owners who don’t keep their frontages clean, and a lack of sidewalks along some busy stretches of roads, such as miles and miles of Oracle Rd. (State Route 77) north of Ina, a road that epitomizes suburban sprawl.
Builders also get away with installing large semi-permanent directional signs along roadways, some ten feet tall and four feet wide, advertising housing developments miles away. KB Homes is one of them.
Other builders use smaller plastic signs. An example is Pepper Viner Homes, a builder that stuck 36 signs over three weeks along Kolb, starting at Kolb and Sunrise and proceeding south for a mile, to where it was building two homes off of Snyder. It put out 12 signs at a time, and each time I asked the county to remove them. By the end of the third time, the company either gave up or sold the homes.
It doesn’t take much imagination or IQ to realize what the metropolis would look like if every business, big and small, ignored sign regulations and used public rights-of-way for advertising. Unfortunately, companies that are good neighbors are put at a competitive disadvantage by the ones who aren’t.
I sure hope that Tucson’s hometown newspaper doesn’t endorse such practices.
Craig J. Cantoni