Mount Airy puts on hold sign measure


A proposed ordinance to regulate signs in Mount Airy - from those of large chain stores to cardboard yard-sale advertisements - needs more work, the Town Council has decided after a detailed discussion and public hearing.

Council members and the mayor suggested changes to the proposed ordinance during a meeting Monday night, from the preamble to the last item on its six pages.

Councilwoman Laurie V. Hager led the discussion with an outline of concerns. She said banishing directional signs to new developments from public property would be "a paradigm shift."

The signs are necessary to direct visitors to the sites, some members said, and there is a procedure for removing them after the weekend.

Some signs for yard sales are just "cardboard with crayon," said council President R. Delaine Hobbs.

Among council members' suggested changes were.

Eliminating the preamble that sets out the proposal's intent.

Changing limits on the placement, square footage and distances from roads and residences.

Eliminating a six-month limit on for-sale signs on property.

Dropping wording that could imply the town could regulate content.

Former Councilman William R. Stroh spoke briefly during the public hearing, saying one reason for drafting the proposal was that town enforcement officers have not operated consistently.

The council will consider the matter again at its regular meeting next month, Hobbs said.

The proposal was drafted after months of work by the town's planning and zoning commission.

Hobbs' objections centered on a concern that the planning and zoning commission was straying into matters such as the town's appearance and historic preservation, and a desire to promote business.

"They have to have signs to make a living, pay taxes, pay their employees," he said. "I think we're getting too micromanaged here."

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