Town Vows to Reign in ‘Renegade’ Signs

BLYTHEWOOD – During the discussion segment of Monday night’s Architectural Review Board meeting, Town Administrator John Perry told members that he would soon suggest changes to the Town’s sign ordinance to strengthen it against what he called ‘renegade’ temporary signs.

Perry said a couple of temporary signs had popped up at businesses in the downtown area recently that he was not proud of and that had slipped through the cracks of the Town’s sign ordinance.

“There were no grounds [in the Code] not to approve them,” Perry told the Board, referring to two temporary black metal signs with large pink, yellow and red fluorescent letters that recently appeared on McNulty Road and Blythewood Road. Perry said the problem is that when one or two of these pop up, then others will follow.

Town Planning Consultant Michael Criss told The Voice that the Town’s sign ordinance does not spell out the restrictions very well on temporary signs.

“Many jurisdictions prohibit that style of a temporary sign, specifically, defining its portability with wheels and metal legs,” Criss said. “Our ordinance does not have that at this time. I think we need to look at temporary signs comprehensively because there are so many types.”

Criss said Perry has the authority to address location, duration and to some extent the appearance of a temporary sign, “But the current Code doesn’t give him much guidance in making decisions on appearance,” Criss said. “In regard to temporary signs, Council may want to provide the Administrator with more guidance for approving these signs, and it may want to strengthen the Code itself.”

For changes to be made to the Code, Criss explained, Council would have to ask the Planning Commission to look into the suggested Code changes. Some of those changes would also be looked at by the ARB, then the Commission would need to make a recommendation to Council which would have to give two readings to the amended Ordinance.

“That’s going to take a little time,” Chris said. “It might be the end of the year before we could actually affect those changes.”