Malden’s Sign Design Ordinance was in need of a major overhaul. Its rules were confusing, offered little flexibility, did not address all types of signs or consider the neighborhood context of signage, or meet current best practices. Members of the City’s Sign Design Review Committee (SDRC), with help of the Malden Redevelopment Authority (MRA) began a process to update the sign controls last April. Through the summer, the SDRC and MRA worked closely with Mayor Gary Christenson, the City Council, and other stakeholders to craft a modern and effective ordinance. The new sign controls were approved by the City Council on October 17, 2017, signed by the Mayor on October 25 and take effect immediately.
The newly revised Ordinance provides a modernized and orderly process to permit signs and provides clear standards to help businesses and others understand what signs are allowed. The sign controls provide more flexibility in terms of the size, type, and permitted location of signs. They also take into account neighborhood context in determining what signs are allowed. For example, fewer and smaller signs are permitted in residential zoning districts than in commercial or industrial areas. The new sign controls ensure regulations are not based on the content of the sign and safeguard the personal expression of free speech. Additionally, they streamline the sign permit approval process, and establish an appeals process for applicants through the Board of Appeals.
The members of the Sign Design Review Committee are Councillor-At-Large Craig Spadafora, Chair; Ward 5 Councillor Barbara Murphy, Malden Redevelopment Authority Director Deborah Burke, Building Commissioner Nelson Miller and City Engineer Yem Lip. Meetings are held the third Thursday of each month.
For further information about the new Ordinance, or to complete the application form, click here: http://www.cityofmalden.org/content/sign-permits.