07/13/05 — Planning board wants to ease restrictions on small road signs

View Archive

Planning board wants to ease restrictions on small road signs

By Barbara Arntsen
Published in News on July 13, 2005 1:45 PM

The Wayne County Planning Board agreed Tuesday night to amend the county sign ordinance to exempt small business signs from its current restrictions.

Connie Price, the county planning director, said changing the ordinance will give local businesses more opportunities to advertise.

The current ordinance calls for the same restrictions on small signs as it does for large billboards.

County commissioners will have the final say in the matter. They have to approve any recommendation by the Planning Board before it can become law.

Billboards usually measure 300 to 400 square feet in size, and are not allowed on county roads unless they are within 800 feet of a business. Spacing requirements for the larger signs also won't allow them to be closer than 1,000 feet from any other outdoor advertising sign on the same side of the road.

The proposed revisions would allow signs that are 32 square feet or less in size to be placed throughout the county in areas that are not close to a business or industry.

"If somebody opens up a new business, either side becomes a possible location for a billboard," Price said. "With the revision, they can still put the smaller signs up, even without a business."

Price said that will help smaller businesses promote themselves and help potential customers find them.

There are some businesses in the area that already have small signs up, but they are in violation of the ordinance, Price said. The changes would bring them into compliance, and allow other businesses to feel free to advertise, he said.

"This will also give us better control and tracking of the signs in the county," Price said.

Outdoor advertising signs 32 square feet or less may be within 100 feet of another small sign.

The minimum distance between the larger signs and existing churches, schools or public institutions is 500 feet, unless written permission from the property owner is given. With permission, that distance still must be at least 300 feet.

Smaller signs are exempt from a distance requirement from churches, if written permission is granted by the property owner.

"We'll be able to monitor where they are going up, and make sure the signs are safe," Price said.

A public hearing on the changes would have to be held by the commissioners before they could vote on the issue.