Council May Relax Sign Rules

BLYTHEWOOD – Blythewood business owners may get an unexpected reprieve from the sign ordinance passed in 2009 that calls for the majority of non-conforming signs to be replaced with conforming signs by February 2015.

According to a recent survey conducted by the Town Planner Michael Criss, there are 27 ground-mounted non-conforming signs in the town. The taller signs along the interstate for McDonalds, the Sharpe Shoppes BP, Comfort Inn and Holiday Inn Express have until 2020 to conform. With the 2016 deadline only a little over a year away, Planning Commission Chairman Malcolm Gordge said on Monday night that “Town Council is anxious to explore every avenue in addressing those non-conformities rather than continue with the drop-dead date for compliance.”

Gordge said Council is rethinking the sign ordinance and that it is “obviously going to cause some difficulties for local businesses, especially those with the larger signs. What’s being proposed,” Gordge said, “is a work session with representatives of the Commission, the Board of Architectural Review and the Chamber of Commerce. Primarily, we want to get some feedback to determine how the businesses perceive this requirement to comply with the ordinance, what the impact on their businesses might be and what the costs and difficulties might be so that we have plenty of time to come to a compromise.”

Gordge told The Voice that he would like for the group to meet at least once before Council’s November meeting so they would have time to forward to Council some feedback before that meeting. Town Administrator Gary Parker said he wants to get notices out to businesses with non-conforming signs at least a year before the ordinance deadline.

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