Property Seeks Sign Exemption

BLYTHEWOOD – The Board of Zoning Appeals (BZA) met Monday evening to hear the appeal of an administrative denial for multiple signage on a commercial property on Blythewood Road. But because the Board lacked a quorum, it was not able to convene. Of the Board’s seven members, only Chairwoman Sabra Mazyck and members Pat Littlejohn and Deborah McLean attended.

The appeal was brought by Sandy Khan, owner of the State Farm Insurance office located in front of the IGA on Blythewood Road. Last month Khan asked former interim Town Administrator Jim Meggs to allow her to place two signs on her property, one for her insurance business and the second for the Chamber of Commerce and Visitor’s Center located in the same building at the back of Khan’s property. That building also houses the Blythewood Artists Guild, and all three offices rent space from Kahn.

There are currently three signs on the property – a large sign on Blythewood Road that displays signs for both State Farm Insurance and the Blythewood Artists Guild; a 3x 4-foot free-standing sign at the back of the property for the Blythewood Artists Guild and a smaller sign in the side window of the Guild. An additional sign for the Chamber and Visitor’s Center would bring to four the number of separate signs on the property.

Meggs denied the request. In a memorandum dated July 11, Meggs updated the BZA on the issue, explaining that “Only one sign is permitted.” Meggs wrote that he informed Khan that she could appeal his interpretation of the law to the BZA.

In her request for an appeal, Khan said she felt that because The Chamber and Visitor’s Center are civic organizations, they should be exempt from the requirements of the sign ordinance that other businesses in the town must follow. In his memorandum to the BZA, Meggs wrote that, “The exemption which (Khan) claims is not applicable because a sign advertising the Chamber and the Visitor’s Center is not a sign erected by or on behalf of the Town or some other government (which are exempt.) There is no exemption for signs erected by or on behalf of a civic organization. Only a flag, badge or insignia of a civic, etc., organization is excluded from the definition of the term ‘sign.’ Signs placed by civic, etc. organizations are subject to the same regulations as commercial signs.”

Mazyck told The Voice that she expected the Board would be asked to call a special meeting soon to hear the issue. The BZA is a quasi-judicial board that meets only when there are appeals or requests for variances.