Flawed Bardstown Sign Ordinances and Regulations
Posted October 14th, 2014 in Bardstown, Blog and tagged , , by Rick Hill

The Kentucky Standard’s August 3, 2014 editorial on Bardstown’s sign ordinances and regulations failed to address the underlying problem: the confusing and often illegible document that governs sign regulation in Bardstown, Kentucky.


Simply put, our sign regulation system is broken. This is obvious from a cursory look into the sign ordinances and regulations available on the City of Bardstown and the Joint City County Planning Commission websites. The format of the sign regulation is totally disorganized. Its language is repetitive and vague. Even more embarrassing, the document is rife with poor grammar, incomplete statements and ambiguous terms. What “experts” put this regulation together in the first place and how has it survived in its current form for so many years? Anyone who believes the document provides clear communication and offers a reflection of our community’s standards has obviously not read it.
A simple review of Bardstown sign regulations will leave most readers scratching their heads and wondering how a document meant to communicate effectively and govern something as important as community aesthetics could itself look so awful. It is no surprise that the document’s flaws, reflected in the format and illustrations, are mirrored in the worst signs in our town. Is it the intent of the regulations to confuse so that it is left open for interpretation?  Shouldn’t the regulations be written in a manner that informs and educates the community about the need for quality signs and provide real examples of suitable signs?


A good sign regulation system requires strong communication, professional illustrations and quality photos with simple, effective graphics produced by a skilled environmental graphic designer – not an art student. It should set a standard for concise communication of intent and desired outcome. Isn’t that what a good sign should do in the first place?


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