|A mural based on a 1940s tourist map of Michigan and an advertising sign at Townies Brewery.|
What's the difference between a mural and an advertising sign? Ann Arbor city law says that a sign, which can be regulated, promotes a business. It must follow that a mural is not regulated and does not promote a business. Last year, the brewery wall in that photo had a picture of "a giant image of a glass of beer." Obviously, the glass of beer promoted the brewery's business, but it turned out to exceed the size-limit stated in the city's sign ordinance. A competitor complained, and the brewery had to replace the old sign with this one. (I never saw or photographed the previous sign, and have not been able to find a photo of it online.)
Meanwhile, the city's sign ordinance is being revised to be more up-to-date. I read through the version that's currently under consideration, but it's too full of legal jargon for me. Basically the elements that are regulated include the size of the sign, whether it moves, whether its lighting is too bright, whether it obscures identifying information needed by first responders or law enforcement, whether there are too many signs cluttering up the area, and things like that. "Historic" signs will be accepted.
|Another view of the mural, which doesn't violate the sign ordinance.|