During the Monday night, Oct. 1 Town Council meeting, resident Dennis Martin came before members during Public Comment to discuss an issue he had over the summer with the town’s sign ordinance.
Martin, who has organized a Blues Festival over the past four year’s, told the council that a number of his signs promoting the event were taken away by code enforcement and never returned.
He expressed his disappointment with the way the town handled the situation, since, as a non-profit group trying to help veterans, he felt event like his should be treated differently than local businesses trying to advertise on the side of the road.
Martin told members, “This year I lost about half of my signs that were never returned.” He hoped that there could be some way that the law be amended, so the same thing doesn’t happen next year.
Town Council acting chair, Joe Green asked the Town Manager Kevin Smith if there would be some way to amend the ordinance through the town attorney.
Smith told Green that, “The reason why the signs were pulled was because any sign on a town right of way is going to be pulled, it’s not legal to be there.”
He continued, “If you’re looking for a fix, what kind of fix are you looking for?”
Green responded, “Maybe it can be an allowance for the first 30-days, and for groups that will benefit non-profits.”
Council member Tom Dolan added that maybe there would be some way to insert some language that would leave it up to the town manager to make the call, so that it’s more of a guideline, and not a hard and fast rule.
It was also pointed out that these signs differ from contractor signs that are placed on the lawns of the homes they’re doing business at. Those signs can only be used while contractors are working on the home, after the job is complete, they must be removed.
Smith also mentioned “One of the reasons why we are enforcing the ordinance is because we often get complaints about too many advertising signs around town. Political signs are a completely different animal, those are governed by state law.”
In the end, a decision was made to look at the law and see if there could be some flexibility worked into it. To allow a 30-day grace period for non-profits.
Details of the decision will be made by the town attorney and will be addressed at a later date.