Revised Sign Ordinance Heads to Public Hearing

The Planning Board will schedule a public hearing on the revised sign ordinance, after reviewing changes suggested by the Town Council and implemented by Code Enforcement Officer Bob Mackey.

The changes were discussed at the June 5 Planning Board meeting.
Highlights of the changes include tweaking the language on the definition for “Sign, Abandoned” on page 1 of the draft. Mackey said the language was revised to clarify that businesses undergoing permitted renovations or that operate seasonally are not to be considered “abandoned.”

The language for “electronic signs” and “electronic message boards” was consolidated, with all electronic signs to be called “electronic message boards.” After input from local Realtors, “real estate signs” were given their own section on page 7 of the draft, Mackey said. The ordinance requires no permit for real estate signs but restricts the Realtor to one sign per lot. Signs will not be illuminated. The draft at first called for a maximum of 4 square feet, residential and 32 square feet, commercial.

Town Administrator John Anderson said in his opinion, 32 square feet for a real estate sign was “way too big.” Anderson recommended the ordinance go to 18 square feet, reasoning, “it gives them a little leeway on the 4×4 requirement.”
The signs should be immediately removed after sale, lease or rental, Mackey said.
Anderson also questioned the language on “temporary signs.” The definition called for signs that are “intended to remain on the location where it is erected or placed for a reasonably short or definite period of time.”

“That is too open-ended for me,” Anderson said. He recommended that the limit of time be more specific, such as “not to exceed one week.” “If it’s more than seven days, it’s not ‘temporary’ to me,” Anderson said.

Al Dimmock, Town Council representative to the board, asked about temporary signs from companies doing work on a home, who place the sign on the lawn to advertise their business. “I saw one for ‘gutter service’ in a guy’s yard, and it’s been there for a month,” Dimmock said.

It’s a headache for Code Enforcement, Mackey said, adding, “We are constantly pulling those signs. Some of them are getting smart now, and using a ladder.”
The board agreed to move ahead to have the ordinance discussed in a public hearing, and Planning Director George Sioras said he would be back at the June 19 meeting with a date for the hearing.