Westminster council approves regulations on temporary signs

November 23, 1993|By Donna E. Boller | Donna E. Boller,Staff Writer

Westminster merchants who want to put sandwich board signs outside their shops will have to forgo neon, flashing lights, fluttering flags or obscene or indecent words or pictures.

The City Council gave consensus approval at last night's meeting to those and other proposed regulations for temporary advertising signs. But the council postponed a formal vote so the city staff could revise the proposed rules to respond to council concerns and suggestions.

City law will treat the sandwich board signs as temporary advertising displays, a separate category from permanent business signs. Public Works Director Thomas B. Beyard said that existing permanent signs would be allowed to remain if the council changed the rules governing the signs.

Temporary signs would have to be altered or eliminated if the council changed the rules or reversed its 2-month-old decision to allow the signs, he said.

Business owners are required to get city permits for sandwich board signs, but apparently some have taken a casual approach to the requirement.

Mr. Beyard, who issues the permits, said he has issued three permits and has one pending. However, Councilwoman Rebecca A. Orenstein said she counted eight or nine sandwich board signs as she walked downtown on Friday.

Mr. Beyard said violators will be told that they must apply for permits or remove the signs.

Council members suggested adding rules to require a sketch of a proposed sign with a permit application and to require merchants to keep their signs repaired. Councilman Edward S. Calwell also asked to bar merchants from putting the signs where they will block car doors.

The council also:

* Approved a formal agreement with the state to purchase the former National Guard Armory on Longwell Avenue, now the Longwell Municipal Center. The state Board of Public Works agreed to sell the building to the city for $1, but set conditions requiring the city to complete proposed renovations, use the building only for public purposes and obtain Maryland Historic Trust approval for exterior and interior changes.

Mr. Beyard said the trust requirements "are going to be a challenge," but added that he doesn't think the historic preservation considerations will hurt the city's ability to use the building.

* Awarded a $14,287 contract to Marcor Inc. of Elkridge to remove asbestos from the Longwell Center.

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