Merchant's sign prompts council to reconsider rules

January 25, 1994|By Donna E. Boller | Donna E. Boller,Staff Writer

A merchant who lost his permit for a sandwich board sign because it didn't have permanent lettering won the promise of a second look at the sign guidelines from the Westminster City Council last night.

"To me, if these letters are the way they are or painted on, I don't see a problem either way," Raymond Reed, owner of a used book, antique and record store on East Main Street, said as he displayed a sandwich board sign with slide-in letters.

Councilwoman Rebecca A. Orenstein argued for standing firm on the sign guidelines. The guidelines were drafted after extensive discussions, she said. She added that the majority decision had favored permanent lettering except for something such as a chalkboard restaurant sign, where the featured menu item might change daily.

Councilman Edward S. Calwell predicted a series of similar appeals from merchants whose signs don't quite meet the standards.

Nevertheless, Mr. Calwell agreed with the consensus -- three in favor, one against -- to have the city attorney draft a rules change that would permit temporary lettering on signs. The council adopted rules governing the temporary signs last month.

Mr. Reed said he would qualify for a permit "if I took Super Glue and put those letters on."

Thomas B. Beyard, city director of planning and public works and the person who approves sign permits, said he had not told Mr. Reed the sign would meet permit standards if the letters were glued on.

Councilman Damian L. Halstad urged "grandfathering" Mr. Reed's sign, because he had received a permit before adoption of the regulations. But other council members pointed out that the permits are temporary, for 30 days only.

Mr. Reed said he put out a sandwich board sign because the permanent sign above his store is blocked by a tree, so it is not easily visible to passing traffic. He said the sign had increased business, and "not one customer" had complained about the temporary letters.

But Ms. Orenstein said she has received complaints that Mr. Reed's sign and items he places outside the store block the sidewalk.

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