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A sampling of pole-based business signs along the tourism corridor of West US 192 in Osceola County. The West 192 Development Authority wants to incentivize business owners to invest on conversion to monument signs next year.
A sampling of pole-based business signs along the tourism corridor of West US 192 in Osceola County. The West 192 Development Authority wants to incentivize business owners to invest on conversion to monument signs next year. (Bob Moser)

Osceola County's W192 Development Authority has $1 million earmarked in its FY2016 budget to encourage property owners to replace pole signs with stone monuments, and will open the funding in October, executive director David Buchheit told GrowthSpotter.

Vast stretches of the W192 tourism corridor have hotels, restaurants and retailers competing vertically for the eyes of passersby with pole signs that grow higher every year. The W192 Development Authority is now going on the offensive to eliminate such signage pollution.

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"Monument signs will be mandatory in six years, but this grant may only last one year," Buchheit said. "Our idea is to be aggressive with it come October, offering money on a first-come, first-served basis, and to get property owners who aren't thinking about changing their signs to get on board with the process early."

The W192 Development Authority has more than $2.8 million in revenue estimated to come in to its Community Redevelopment Area (CRA) in 2015. The CRA is the largest redevelopment agency in the United States by distance, stretching 15 miles along US 192 from Hoagland Avenue in Kissimmee to the Osceola County line, which encompasses most of Kissimmee's tourism corridor.

The W192 CRA budget for FY2016 that starts in October is roughly $2 million, $1 million of which will be offered for the first time as incentives for owners to replace pole-based signs with monument signs.

A new signage ordinance will take effect in six years that prohibit pole or pylon signs in the W192 CRA district, as well as temporary signs like cold-air balloons, feather banners and other portable signage. Most signs sit about 30 feet back from the roadway as of now.

Property owners will face a mandate to change their signs within six years with monuments made from masonry brick and concrete, or cast stone. They'll stand adjacent to right-of-way with a maximum setback of two feet, and can be a maximum of eight square feet in size and six feet in height.

A monument sign that fits the new parameters of W192's CRA is likely to cost between $20,000 and $25,000, Buchheit said.

The W192 Development Authority Board has yet to decide if it will reimburse applicants the full cost of removing a pole sign and replacing with a monument, or if partial grants will be offered, he added.

Property owners within the W192 CRA interested in applying for monument signage funding in October can inform Buchheit now by e-mail.

bmoser@growthspotter.com or (407) 420-5685

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