Source: Grosse Pointe News Online

Open to question

October 04, 2012

GROSSE POINTE SHORES — If real estate agents are so hep to landscape street corners with “open house” signs, they can appeal in person to the city council.The council is considering a zoning ordinance amendment allowing open house signs on Sundays.“Before we put it on paper, I’d like to see a Realtor or two here,” said Grosse Pointe Shores Councilman Robert Barrette during the Tuesday, Sept. 18, council meeting.“If the real estate community feels this is a benefit to them and our community, they would be here tonight,” said Councilman Bruce Bisballe.“I’m not sure this is in the best interest of the city,” Mayor Ted Kedzierski, said of the proposed amendment. “That’s the standard we judge our conduct by.”Realtors can make their case at the next council meeting, 7 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 16.The Shores is the only Grosse Pointe banning open house signs on street corners to advertise sales mid-block.“Brokers said it puts Grosse Pointe Shores at a competitive disadvantage with other Grosse Pointes,” Kedzierski said.Salespeople are championing their case through the municipal Ambassador Committee, formed to promote Shores housing stock.“Realtors said open house signs are an effective way for some homes,” said committee chair D.J. Boehm.Councilman Bruce Bisballe doubts that.“I don’t think we’re selling a lot of homes by people who get in the car, drive down Lakeshore and see what signs are out,” he said. “In today’s day and age, I think most people look for a home on the Internet. They look at prospects and engage a Realtor at that point. If there is an open house, they’re working with a Realtor and directed to it.”Debate includes people wanting signs on the Lakeshore median.“We’re trying to catch traffic from both directions,” said Vito Cusenza, a Shores resident and real estate broker. “There are advantages to having them on the median.”“The original thinking of the Ambassador Committee was they not be placed in the median,” said Councilwoman Kay Felt, liaison to the committee.The council could have amended Ordinance 259 last week to permit open house signs: between noon and 6 p.m. Sundays on which the open house is held,between the sidewalk and curb, or no closer than five feet from the street and not create a traffic hazard,no larger than seven square feet,listing the name and address of the person placing the sign or the owner of the house being advertised,on private property, with permission from the property owner andremoved by 6 p.m. Signs not removed in time may be confiscated by the city and returned for a fee or, if not retrieved within five days, thrown away.A current trial period shows compliance.“We’ve had no problems,” said John Schulte, public safety director. “They do a good job of putting them up and taking them down.