Sign, sign, everywhere a sign… Design Review Committee holds discussion on signage changes

Members of community organizations had an opportunity to discuss the County of San Diego’s new policy for signs and banners in the public right-of-way in unincorporated communities at a special meeting on March 27 at Fallbrook Public Utility District.

Eileen Delaney, chair of the Fallbrook Design Review Committee within the Fallbrook Community Planning Group, organized the meeting in an effort to share as much information about the change as possible with stakeholders from various community groups.

Chris Champine, senior policy advisor to Supervisor Bill Horn and Murali Pasumarthi, manager of traffic engineering for the Dept. of Public Works, were present for the meeting.

Delaney explained that the new policy allows for way-finding signs, community identification signs, community information (event) signs, as well as street-spanning banners and vertical light pole banners to be placed in public right-of-way areas.

“This program will help non-profit and civic organizations legally advertise their events around town,” said Delaney. “It will also serve to welcome visitors and tourists and help them find services, locate points of interest, and provide directions to events and other centers of commerce.”

Delaney said that one of the purposes of the meeting was to determine if the cost for applying for signs and banners was financially possible for the non-profit organizations in the Fallbrook community. To ascertain the answer, she asked representatives of several non-profit organizations to each research the guidelines for one type of sign allowed in the program and propose the locations for these types of signs or banners.

The major costs involved in obtaining permits for these signs and banners include a site plan review, which is required to comply with the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA).

Applicants will also be required to obtain general liability insurance naming the County as the insured, and also encroachment permits.

When hanging a sign or banner on a public works area, there is also a traffic control permit needed. It was said that there is no cost for this permit.

Sign and banner designs and materials will be required to comply with the regulations in the manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD). This is a document issued by the United States Department of Transportation which specifies the standards in which road surface markings, signals and traffic signs are designed, installed and used; such as shapes, colors and fonts.

Some of the signage regulations in the new program include not being located within 500 feet of an intersection.

Roy Moosa of the Fallbrook Planning Group noted that an intersection is a very important place to display information. Some signs that have existed for many years, which were never permitted, may not be in compliance with this regulation. Delaney said that under the new program these would not be “grandfathered in.”

Lila MacDonald, CEO of the Chamber of Commerce, emphasized her concern about the negative impact on non-profits, due to the likelihood of high costs and the amount of time required for the process.

Delaney said the Design Review Committee would like to find a way to reduce the application fees for the new program.

A suggestion was made to see if the County could come up with some type of minor site plan review that still includes an environmental review, or to allow some type of a waiver of the site plan. County staff agreed to work on a more simplified site plan application.

Vince Ross of the Fallbrook Community Forum suggested developing a master plan which would contain a comprehensive list of all the specific signs and banners that the community chooses, then presenting it to the Dept. of Public Works as one package.

Another suggestion was to have one representative from a Fallbrook non-profit organization handle the application process, as opposed to different individuals from various organizations.

Voicing his concern, Roy Moosa said, “The overwhelming cost and time that will be required for signs and banners representing non-profit organizations is too complicated.”

“We should consider putting signs on private property,” said Moosa. “It would seem to cut difficulties in half, rather than to put the signs in the public right of way.”

Concern was voiced over how many signs would be allowed on private property and who would be in charge of that approval process. Delaney agreed. She suggested that perhaps the Fallbrook Community Plan could be updated with revised zoning in certain areas to allow a similar program for off-premise signs for non-profit organizations on private property.

Don McDougal, owner of the Grand Tradition, asked why Fallbrook has to go through a complex process when nearby communities such as Vista and Escondido do not. Pasumarthi said the Board of Supervisors was presented with two options for funding the program: taxpayer-funded or applicant-funded. The option that was chosen was to have the program paid for by community applicants and the County would continue to supply the standard green and white signage.

Finding funds to pay for signs and banners is a major issue. Discussion ensued whether or not Community Enhancement Grants could be obtained from the county for the purpose or not.

Delaney and Ann Wade of the Friends of the Fallbrook Community Center spoke briefly about proposing a non-profit organization to take on the program.

Delaney cautioned that if the community decided to do that, it would take a certain amount of funds away from other organizations that might have a greater need for the grants.

Wade also proposed that the communities of Bonsall and Fallbrook team up in approaching the county.

The Chamber of Commerce agreed to be the applicant for a “test case,” by submitting forms for the numerous, vertical banners on the street lights. This is designed to have the County determine the cost and time required for the site plan review which will be required for all sign and banner submittals under the program.

Pasumarthi explained that Dept. of Public Works will review the proposed sign and banner locations for concurrence at no charge. He also remarked that out of 26 unincorporated communities, Fallbrook was the first to start working on the new program.

Champine reminded community members that “this is still the beginnings of the program,” hence why his department cannot give cost estimates until the first test case is presented. Champine said he wanted to emphasize that the county “wants to work cooperatively with the community” and mentioned the possibility of applying a deposit to the application, and then organizations being allowed to fundraise to pay the remainder of the balance.

Delaney said the Design Review Committee has tentatively planned to hold another special meeting, on April 24 at 10 a.m. at Fallbrook Public Utility District, for the purpose of working on a master plan for signage.

36 Responses to "Sign, sign, everywhere a sign… Design Review Committee holds discussion on signage changes"

  1. Lee   April 2, 2014 at 3:53 pm

    Well, that’s all hunky-dory, but what about signs that actually mean something like speed limit signs so that our children and loved ones aren’t bulldozed over by speedsters and we won’t have to read about it yet again?

    What about THOSE signs?!

    All that the signs in this article are about . . . is money. Money — good. Human life — who cares.

  2. Ray (the real one)   April 2, 2014 at 5:49 pm

    FINALLY….. A story I can sink my teeth into…….. Post before the story is CLOSED…

  3. Pink   April 2, 2014 at 6:31 pm

    I know that it will do absolutely no good to point out the obvious to Lee, but I will try and do it anyway….. this article is about signage for non profit organizations. Non profit Lee, means that while they take in money for various causes, such as the animal sanctuary, they do not make a "profit" on the endeavor, so this article is not about money….

    Stop signs, caution signs, school crossing signs, etc will still be funded by the county.

  4. Neighbor   April 2, 2014 at 6:48 pm

    The lady is a problem. She would rather see a Fallbrook Business fail, rather than let them use a sign (that is already there, Just need to change the business name) so she can get her way. How can we vote her out of office?

  5. Life in Morro Hills   April 2, 2014 at 7:31 pm

    In my opinion, it never inspires much confidence when Delaney supports something.

  6. Fallbrook res.   April 2, 2014 at 9:26 pm

    Someone hit the darn pole on Mission and Santa Margarita again, what number is this 5th. in the last 4 years I think, not counting the many that just miss it and go into the planter. I think we should just leave the cars there as a reminder. People are so lucky it a pole not a gas tank. Really a story about signs? If you don’t like their signs just tell them in person.

  7. Ray (the real one)DR & JR: Maybe a bit more critique of the   April 3, 2014 at 11:19 am

    Village News: Maybe a bit more critique of these “elected officials” is warranted.
    In my opinion, Delaney never met a sign she didn’t hate.
    More press plus or minus makes an informed voter. Maybe if these people are voted out, Fallbrook might move into the 21st century.

  8. Garbanzo   April 3, 2014 at 5:58 pm

    Maybe you all should stop hiding behing your computer screens and realize how dedicated Eileen actually is to the community!

  9. Fallbrook Business Owner   April 3, 2014 at 6:42 pm

    Traveling in East Mission Road, a multitude of signs greet drivers as they near Main Avenue.
    The picture show three signs other than the city sings.
    A MULTITUDE is a great number of things or people or a huge crowd.
    Really! there is nothing else to do in fallbrook other than talk about signs.

  10. Ray (the real one)Garbanzo: Your full of beans   April 4, 2014 at 4:26 am


    Your full of beans.

    Fallbrook businesses are distributed so in order to find them, people must have signs, without signs, Fallbrook would have tumbleweeds blowing down Main Avenue but from what I saw last week, it already happened.

    How can someone who lives in Morro Hills and shops in Temecula care about what happens in downtown Fallbrook. What we need is term limits

    Next election cycle, just don`t vote for the bums and maybe the county might disband the nonsense but if you have to vote, “NO” to these………… new blood is what Fallbrook needs.

  11. Fallbrook the Beautiful   April 4, 2014 at 9:02 am

    I lived in another community that when through these exact same discussions. They ended up phasing some in pretty strict signage laws over time. Some businesses were initially very opposed, but 20 years later everything worked out for the better. Why reinvent the wheel here. May I suggest that you find a town that has successfully solved this problem and follow their suggestions on what worked and what didn’t.

  12. Pink   April 4, 2014 at 9:21 am

    While I agree that the "sign police" tend to get a little control crazy I have to say that if we didn’t have some signage control Fallbrook would look like Tiajuana. Signage rules are necessary. That being said, I believe that Eileen carries it too far, and I have told her so. Ray: I know you don’t like the FCPG or any member of it, and you keep advocating that they be replaced, however, in order for that to happen someone has to run against the person that "you" want gone. People aren’t exactly falling over themselves to run for the planning group. The group has 15 members, find 15 people who would like a job that entails lots of hours and pays nothing, and you will have it made. Until that happens the FCPG is the only thing that stands between us and complete county control.

  13. business owner & volunteer   April 4, 2014 at 9:39 am

    Come on guys. Read the story. She is trying to help our local organizations get signs. She was very helpful to us when we needed our business signs.
    Hey Ray, How do you know where she lives and where she shops? Are you a stalker? We’ve seen her shopping and dining downtown Fallbrook many times.
    Her family has been one of the most generous contributors to our local organizations & she and her husband also volunteer much of their time to help our community.

  14. Ray (the real one)business owner and volunteer: I put up NO DEL   April 4, 2014 at 12:24 pm

    business owner and volunteer:

    I put up NO DELANEY signs around her home. Ever hear of a phone book? Old school but works.

    I have seen her too. My comments are being edited.

  15. Garbanzo   April 4, 2014 at 8:25 pm


    You specifically looked her up and then put up signs around her home? Sounds more than a bit creepy to me…

  16. Pink   April 5, 2014 at 9:56 am

    I think Ray was kidding about that Garbanzo…. or at least I hope he was kidding..

  17. Ray (the real one)   April 5, 2014 at 10:04 am


    She is an elected official, got to read your constitution.

  18. Life in Morro Hills   April 5, 2014 at 3:25 pm

    I saw those signs the last time she was up for election. You couldn’t miss them they were so big. Good job! My only concern is if she gets the boot from the planning group, does that mean she then has more time on her hands to start meddling with our road board again? Ever since she tried to bankrupt us by installing a bunch of speed humps all over the place, she’s been a zero in my book. Once she left the board they yanked them all out. It was a big mess. I’ll never vote for the women no matter what she runs for.

  19. Amy   April 5, 2014 at 6:03 pm

    I don’t believe many of you read the whole article! Unfortunately the Village News added fuel to the fire by printing photos of many illegal business signs that had nothing to do with the article.
    Ms. Delaney and Design Review are working with the County, to make the posting of legal signs more affordable.

  20. Ray (the real one)   April 7, 2014 at 9:56 am

    Define illegal sign?

  21. Tom   April 7, 2014 at 5:10 pm

    Life in Morro Hills,
    We live in Morro Hills and remember when Mrs Delaney was on the board. She did a god job. Your comments have no basis in fact. She and other board members did what they felt was best.
    Sounds like she didn’t agree with you and you just can’t get over it.
    Here we are years later and this story is about how the design committee is trying to help Fallbrooks’s organizations and all you can do is make personal attacks.
    What have you done lately to help Fallbrook?

  22. Amy   April 8, 2014 at 8:42 am

    Ray, San Diego County Design Review guidelines for Fallbrook are posted on the Fallbrook Chamber of Commerce website as well as the County of San Diego’s web site. What is legal has been defined by the County of San Diego.

  23. Ray (the real one)   April 8, 2014 at 10:32 am


    With all due respects, I tell them to “pound sand” as I do at the ballot box.

    Vote the problems out.

  24. Life in Morro Hills   April 8, 2014 at 12:50 pm

    First Delaney got them to put one of those things in on Sleeping Indian and wanted several more all over the place immediately. We get ABSOLUTELY NO NOTICE that they were planning to stick another one in front of OUR house!! Couldn’t wait to see how the first one was going to be received. Had to do everything all at once! The only thing that saved us was all heck broke loose when it became known that the gal the road board hired didn’t have the legal qualifications to recommend installation creating a huge liability for the community in case of an accident. It wasn’t any of the board members who discovered this either. It was the folks in Oceanside that hired her for some work over there and managed to save our neck. But by then Delaney had sailed on to the planning group were her pet project is to play sign monitor.

    Oh, and Amy isn’t it nice how Delaneys making it more affordable for businesses to post so called “legal” signs when she was the one who led the charge for the county to start rigid enforcement and REFUSES to support any modification to the ordinance. Gee, what a sweetheart! What would we ever do without her?

  25. name withheld   April 8, 2014 at 2:18 pm

    Eileen Delaney is without a doubt one of the most divisive members of the Fallbrook Planning Group. I really wish she could be defeated next time she runs.

  26. Small Business Owner   April 8, 2014 at 2:44 pm

    I have no idea why Mrs. Delaney wants to make life so difficult for small businesses here in downtown. We’re certainly unimpressed.

  27. Ray (the real one)   April 8, 2014 at 2:54 pm

    Since the FBVN lack the kahuna`s to post what people think, the poll results are just out

    10 to 1 against Delaney and the rest of the FCPG lacky`s (edited)

    Let us see if this shows at the ballot box.

    Send Delaney back to the hills.

  28. grunt   April 8, 2014 at 4:50 pm

    RAY – it is not an illegal sign, it is an undocumented sign, doing the job no American sign will do.

  29. Reality Monger   April 8, 2014 at 6:18 pm

    Comment #12 there are already some parts of Fallbrook that DO look like TJ. Those businesses are allowed to put whatever sign, banner or flag out that they want. They are allowed to paint their buildings in HORRID colors or to let them look like they are falling down around them. No one seems interested in doing ANYTHING about them. There is a dilapidated and junky trailer park smack dab int he middle of town but the signage issue is what is more important? I had a small business in town once and I could not put out an A-frame sign directing business to my door and guess what? I don’t have that business in Fallbrook anymore. I moved it all up to Temecula.

  30. Amy   April 8, 2014 at 8:52 pm

    As a Fallbrook resident who wants to understand the ins and outs of local happenings, I have attended many Fallbrook Planning Group meetings. It appears that some folks are more interested in playing \"hit and run\" in the comment section of the Village News than attending the monthly meeting and becoming informed on the various issues. The F.C.P.G. is an advisory board made up of 15 members, not just one individulle.
    And remember the County of San Diego has the final say on the all projects.

  31. Ray (the real one)   April 9, 2014 at 9:22 am


    If you want to be treated like a three year old, have an issue before the FCPG. Last time I was theere besides being treated like a child, I was growled at by a certain dog. Now I could get into more details but it would be edited.

    Last time I had a sign issue I received a letter from the group regarding my numerous signs, I told them to mind their own business and buzz off. Never received another contact again.

    The trick is not to allow these individuals to get into your business, just ignore them, works for me. Don`t let them think they have any power over you.

  32. Pink   April 9, 2014 at 9:27 am

    Amy is correct. Once again Ray, do you know 15 people willing to actually step up and run for the planning group board? If not nothing new will happen at the ballot box.

  33. Jan   April 9, 2014 at 10:14 am

    We had a run in with Delaney a few years back. I’m sure she remembers and knows who I am. She was nice enough, I give her that to meet us at our shop downtown. So she pulls up in front of our business to lecture us about our banner that we had displayed with the building owners permission on the front of the building. This was at the worst point of the downturn in 2010. There wasn’t a single car on Main within a block. Not a customer in sight. Here we are barely surviving and she’s having heart palpiltations over our banner and little sidewalk sign??? Give me a break. We were almost bankrupted during that time and she’s going on about signage? Speak about complete lack of concern and wrong priorities!

  34. Ray (the real one)   April 9, 2014 at 10:23 am


    One thing you will learn is that these types of groups give people a power rush which leads to severe abuses. homeowners associations, school boards create little Stalin`s.

    In the case of the FCPG, they allow their personal views to interfere with the good of the community which results in what Fallbrook is today. I do not approve and never approve of private citizens to dictate to another, that is why we have a county to make these decisions.

    As I stated before, these members are what is wrong with community groups.

  35. Jackie Heyneman   April 29, 2014 at 8:09 am

    Who are these awful people who hide behind assumed names to bash those who serve our community.
    It is easy to sit at your keyboard and lambast the FCPG without a clue as to what is required of them. Annual compliance testing and personal accountability, hours understanding the rules and ordinances of the County regulations, meetings to listen to applicants who comply with the rules, the huge burden of evaluating major developments that could have a dramatic effect on you small business owners who complain so loudly are only part of their work for you.
    Where are you at meetings? It is interesting to come to the meetings, you should try it. There are meetings when hordes of people come to the meeting because of a neighborhood issue that could affect them. As soon as their item is heard, they are up and gone, disrupting the meeting with their very vocal departure. Then there are those meetings where there may be two or three in the audience. Fifteen Planning Group members are there to decide the issues without community input. Disgraceful!
    This person who is the brunt of the online comments is Eileen Delaney. Having sat on the Design Review Committee for 6 years, I can truthfully say that Eileen has given as much sway as possible to applicants in complying with the County Regulations. And, by the way, where are you business owners who have done the right thing, come to the Design Review to see if your proposed signage complies, and maybe got a little

  36. Neighbor   May 5, 2014 at 6:10 pm

    Jackie, first off, you should get spell check or proof read before you post.. Small business owners in fallbrook, " Awful people". There awful because they don’t agree with you? This lady stinks and needs to go. It looks like other people that agree.


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