Signs of summer (and winter, spring and fall)

Signs of summer (and winter, spring and fall)

Improperly posted sign on church property.

The villages of Pinecrest and Palmetto Bay are wonderful bedroom communities. We drive, walk and ride through beautiful tree-lined streets with tropical foliage, play in our parks and enjoy peaceful moments.

It’s one of the main reasons we choose to live here and why our homes are valued as they are. But there is an issue at hand that is close to my heart, and it involves signs.

Let’s face it, we have advertising bombarding us from sun up to sun down. No one wants our suburban streets lined with ads, yet that seems to be what’s happening. Roofers, electricians, plumbers, tutors, sports camps and construction companies all shout at us from the very homeowner yards we hold dear. Why do we allow it? Since I live in Palmetto Bay, I’ll start my discussion there. Future columns on the subject likely will expand to Pinecrest where there are similar issues.

Signs should be controlled via Village ordinances and enforced by compliance officers. While I’m not an attorney, the essence of Palmetto Bay’s ordinance allows only two types of signs without obtaining a permit — political campaign signs and real estate signs. I certainly agree about the real estate signs, as homeowners should be able to advertise their own property for sale or rent as a basic right of owning that land.

I’ll leave the debate about political signs for another day, other than to point out one glaring inequity.

Signs of summer (and winter, spring and fall)

Palmetto Middle School Principal Jesus Gonzalez.

In Palmetto Bay, political signs are specifically allowed to be 22×28 inches, where real estate signs are limited to 144 squareinches, meaning that homeowners’ signs are limited to 77 percent smaller than those of politicians. That is a mind boggling and doesn’t make sense. I doubt that’s what was intended when the ordinance was written in 2002. Further, if a homeowner were to try to adhere to the size restriction for their real estate sign, they are forced to buy a customsize sign. To prove my point, I went to Home Depot and several other online and brickand- mortar stores that sold signs. None sold a stock 144 square-inch sign.

If I were to humbly suggest an EQUITABLE solution. In the United States, a standard sign size is 24×18 inches. You can buy hundreds of pre-made signs at this size, including “For Sale” signs. Why not make all allowable signs under the ordinance adhere to a standard maximum of 24×18 inches?

Then, it’s time to start enforcing the ordinance. Why a plumber from 15 miles away can place a sign in Palmetto Bay as pure advertisement is beyond me. With some equitable changes and enforcement, we can win back our bedroom communities.

School recessed for the summer just a couple of weeks ago, but before the final bell rang I caught up with the new principal at Palmetto Middle School Jesus Gonzalez. He took over the post on March 3 and was pleased with how he was greeted and how the school year wrapped up.

Signs of summer (and winter, spring and fall)

Comparing a 24×18-inch standard sign to compliant 144-square-inch sign.

“We had a great year and now the kids should be enjoying themselves for the summer. Family vacation and relaxing is very important. It’s about bonding time,” said Gonzalez. “Our students should keep up with their summer math or science work and enjoy a good book or two.”

Yeah, that sounds like principal speak, but kids don’t get a free hall pass.

As for his first full year at Palmetto Middle School, Gonzalez said he’s looking forward to responding to parents’ input by expanding the music program.

“I’d like to go from our part-time music program to full-time. We’ll also continue on the successful Palmetto Middle school path and work on taking it to the next level.”

Gonzalez said he wanted to grow the Cambridge Program that is already utilized in sixth and seventh grades.

“We’re sending teachers for additional training this summer so we can expand its reach at the school.”

To quell a rumor going around the student body at the end of the year, no, there will be no draconian changes to the dress code. Gonzalez said there has been a dress code in place since 2009 and he simply plans to enforce it a bit more.

One thing to look forward to just before students head back to class; Palmetto Middle School will release a phone app that will enable both students and parents to always be in the know and connected.

The real estate market is back in South Florida. To learn the new value of your home, go to to register for a free, no-obligation home evaluation. Only a neighborhood real estate expert who’s seen the inside of your home can give you an accurate value. Contact me to get started.

Hal Feldman is a Realtor with RE/MAX Advance Realty. Contact him with story ideas or real estate questions at

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