If bills pending before the Havre de Grace Council are approved, an auto repair shop will be allowed to move a few blocks to the former Coca-Cola building and residents will have more options for building fences on corner lots.
A third bill would alter regulations affecting electronic signs and political and temporary signs.
Wilhelm Automotive, which has been on North Juniata Street near Superior Street for 14 years, plans to move down the street to a much larger space in the 300 block, and one of the bills the council is considering will facilitate the move.
Introduced on Aug. 18, the legislation would allow auto repair or service centers in a residential business district. It would also forbid auto businesses from being within 300 feet of the Chesapeake Bay critical area (1,000 feet from the mean high tide mark), which would mean no new auto shops at Wilhelm's current site, councilman Fred Cullum said Wednesday.
"There is an auto repair shop [Wilhelm] that wishes to move into a larger facility because their business has grown and they want more space," Cullum said about the rationale for the bill.
The sign bill would allow electronic signs to have changing or flashing messages, which Cullum said is part of a range of changes to the city's sign code the council has been hoping to make.
Most recently, Harford Bank has been allowed to have such a sign, with a changing message, Cullum said. If the legislation fails, the bank would be forced to take it down, but "we are trying to accommodate businesses," he explained.
Regulations about temporary and political signs that the bill would also change are mostly in response to a legal ruling elsewhere in the state that Cullum said is in conflict with the city's current rules.
The bill would set a maximum of area of eight square feet for such signs, while removing a requirement or how early they can be set up. Other changes would allow temporary signs along Union and Congress Avenue if they are more than 12 feet from the curb.