Temporary signs make Mount Airy councilman say, 'Enough is enough' Ordinance would enable crackdown

August 06, 1993|By Greg Tasker | Greg Tasker,Staff Writer

The Mount Airy Town Council has introduced an ordinance aimed at cracking down on the temporary signs popping up at shopping centers and along streets.

"The idea is to get rid of those temporary signs," Councilman Oliver H. Davis Jr. said. "There used to be one or two, now there are [dozens]. After a while you see so many signs you become oblivious to them. Enough is enough."

Under the proposed ordinance, the town's zoning administrator would be able to remove any signs on public property 48 hours after notice has been given to the sign's owner.

The council is expected to take action on the proposal at its Sept. 13 meeting.

Currently, the zoning administrator doesn't have the authority to remove signs, town officials said.

Generally, town officials have written or verbally asked violators to remove signs. Sometimes they comply, sometimes they don't, officials said.

"I've picked up a few in the past and was probably wrong for doing it," Mr. Davis said. "I've only picked up ones in rights of way. But most people who put them out don't take them down."

Regulation of temporary and permanent signs falls under the town's zoning ordinance, which places limits on sign size and location. Violators can be fined $50.

Also under the proposed ordinance, signs on private property could be removed by the zoning administrator if they were posted without a permit or were not allowed under the zoning regulations.

Permits are required to post temporary signs, such as those advertising subdivisions, political campaigns or business sales, within town limits. Owners must pay $20 per side per sign, town officials said.

"They're ugly," Mr. Davis said of the growing number of signs.

Mr. Davis' concerns are more than aesthetic. In some instances, signs have posed public nuisances by blocking sidewalks and forcing pedestrians to walk in the streets.

But some people have cooperated with town officials and removed signs, he said.

Mr. Davis noted that builders and developers along Rising Ridge have removed signs advertising homes and developments after

weekend sales.

The proposed ordinance also would allow:

* The immediate removal of signs creating public hazards, such as those blocking the view of traffic or pedestrians.

* The confiscation of signs by the town for 30 days. Owners could regain the signs after paying a $25 fee.

9- * Assessment of a $100 fine on violators.

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