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Beline Obeid

January 24, 2013
GROSSE POINTE SHORES — Realtors accepted the city council's invitation to pitch the idea of posting "open house" signs in Grosse Pointe Shores.

"It's to put the Shores on par with the other cities," said Chace Wakefield, vice president of the Grosse Pointe Board of Realtors.

Wakefield also is a Shores resident serving on the Ambassador Committee.

Mayor Ted Kedzierski appointed the committee last February to boost the community's housing stock.

Committee members want Shores officials to amend a city ordinance forbidding "open house" signs.

Such signs are permitted in the four other Pointes.

"What we're proposing is to put us on pace with the other cities," Wakefield told council Jan. 15. "I want to see Grosse Pointe Shores thrive (and) families moving in."

Wakefield proposed:

limiting signs from 1:30 to 4:30 p.m. Sundays,

no signs on the Lakeshore median,

signs are restricted to being no larger than 7 square feet,

signs may be placed between the curb and sidewalk, but no closer than 5 feet from the roadway.

placement of signs must not create a traffic nuisance or inconvenience to the neighborhood,

signs may be located on private property only with permission of the property owner,

signs on public property don't require city permission and

real estate agents who don't comply face fines to be determined by the city.

Because easements are on private property, all curb signs would need the homeowner's permission, according to Councilman Bruce Bisballe.

Councilman Robert Gessell asked about restricting the number of signs per house.

"We'll put it on the agenda next month for council consideration," Kedzierski said.


Shores officials, often reflecting the wishes of residents, are concerned about sign pollution.

Councilmembers said late last year they wouldn't decide the issue without real estate representatives making their case in person.

"When you have an open house sign, it improves our clientele coming in," said Beverly Tannian, a director of the board of Realtors and a resident of Grosse Pointe Park, at last week's meeting. "You have more people aware a house is going to be open. It helps sell the house."

Cathy Champion, twice past member of the board of Realtors and current chair of the Chamber of Commerce, was unable to attend the council session, but submitted a written statement.

"I personally bought a house in Grosse Pointe Farms because I saw the sign directing traffic to an unadvertised open house," Champion wrote. "Having an open house sign is a baby step in showing our available housing choices and gives buyers a sense of what their dollar can buy."

She also said signs encourage competition among listings.

House sales up

There are fewer houses for sale now in the Shores than last year.

"As of last week, there were only 15 available," said D.J. Boehm, chair of the Ambassador Committee. "That's a reduction of 60 percent compared to last February."

She credited Realtors.

"(They've) done an extraordinary job of, not only selling homes, but of bringing in buyers willing to invest significant dollars, so their homes are being refurbished and restored."

Housing stock throughout the Pointes is "stable," Wakefield said.

"We're right around 190 houses on the market," he said. "At our worst time, we were over 800. That was three or for years ago."

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