Complaints about signage are coming in to the City of Missoula from both citizens and businesses.

Charmell Owens is a Compliance Officer with Development Services. She said her office has received complaints regarding what are known as 'wind signs'.

"We've had some complaints about winds signs that have been placed in the city limits," Owens said. "According to city ordinance, we don't allow wind signs. Those can be humans holding signs or it can be fabric signs that are installed into the ground. They can also be those flexible characters that are powered by a fan to make them move."

Owens said, as a compliance officer, she and her staff simply carry out the directives passed down from the Missoula City Council.

"We simply enforce the code," she said. "The city council decided they did not want those signs in the city limits, because they're pretty light, and in a strong wind, can become a traffic hazard."

Owens defined a legal and an illegal sign,

"Signs that are legal are those that are permitted and approved by the city," Owens said. "What we don't allow are the use of flags or pennants, spinners, streamers or other wind-driven signs, and we'll be going out and enforcing that."

Owens said the city has a procedure to bring business owners into compliance with the sign ordinance, but for the next few weeks the plan is to simply visit with merchants and let them know their signs are not in compliance.

"We're hoping that they'll take them down voluntarily when they get this message, but if they don't, we'll go out and visit them and do a little bit of education with them about removing them. If they don't comply then they'll get a 21-day letter from our department, and if that doesn't happen then we'll make a referral to the city attorney's office, and that's our normal process."

Business owners can review the City’s sign code, Chapter 20.75 in the Missoula Municipal Code, online.