Draft of Sign Ordinance Gets Planning Board Approval

The Planning Board has approved a draft of a sign ordinance for Derry. Planning Director George Sioras and Code Enforcement Officer Bob Mackey presented the draft ordinance to the board at its Feb. 20 meeting.
The ordinance has been through several meetings and iterations since its first draft last fall. The board received input from the International Sign Association, based in Virginia, and local firm New Hampshire Signs, in addition to residents and local businesses.

Major changes in the final draft include definitions of “awning” and “marquee,” Mackey said. The section on “Sign, electronic message center” was amended from allowing “changeable text and graphics” to allowing words, symbols, figures or images that can be electronically or mechanically changed.” “Sign, flashing” was changed from “exhibits changes in light, color, light direction and/or animation” that are “not kept constant in intensity” to read “has varying degrees of intensity when in use and/or exhibits changes in light, color, light direction and/or animation.”

“Projecting signs” was changed from “an attached sign which extends more than 19 inches from the face of the wall” to “a sign affixed to any part of the building which extends beyond the building or structure by more than 12 inches.” The intensity of electronic signs will be monitored by the amount of “candlepower.” Images must remain at a fixed level of illumination for not less than 5 seconds. Brightness of electronic signs must not go above 0.3 “foot candles,” and signs must be equipped with a device to alter the brightness.

Mackey will monitor brightness with a foot candle light meter.
Town Administrator John Anderson said the new ordinance will place “all the sign regulations in one section. You won’t have to ‘seek and destroy.’” He thanked Mackey, Sioras and Planning Assistant Elizabeth Robidoux for their work on the ordinance. “We are asking you to give this your blessing tonight,” Sioras said.
The board did so, with a vote of 8-0.

A public hearing on the draft ordinance brought no speakers and was closed. The ordinance will go to the Town Council for its approval after a second public hearing scheduled for March 6.