BAR ok’s Taco Bell, asks council to require COA for LED lights

BLYTHEWOOD – After a few questions about color and materials that will be used in the construction of a Taco Bell that is planned or Blythewood Road, the Board of Architectural Review (BAR) voted unanimously to approve a certificate of appropriateness for the restaurant.

Following the meeting, one of three presenters, Bob Wiseman, representing Flynn Restaurant Group,  told The Voice that he expected construction to begin within 60 days and that the restaurant should be open in early fall. The restaurant will be located at 209 Blythewood Road, next to Zaxby’s.

BAR’s Plan to limit LED

In other business, the board discussed limiting the use of LED window lighting in the commercial areas of the town, but it was not on the agenda to be voted on.

It was the third time the board has suggested cracking down on LED window lighting that has cropped up in windows of at least one business in town.

In December, Town Council voted against limiting LED lighting after two black-owned businesses told council they had been harassed by town employees to remove their LED lighting even though there was no town ordinance against it.

In January, the BAR pursued limiting LED lighting again, requesting Williamson to provide draft language and to bring the board additional images of business window signs with LED lights.

That draft, included these suggested revisions to the sign ordinance: “Lighted signs for advertising (not incidental signs like “Open” or “Closed”) must receive a Certificate of Appropriateness from the Board of Architectural Review” and “Lighted window signs for advertising must receive a Certificate of Appropriateness. Incidental signs (like “open” and “closed” can be reviewed administratively to ensure compliance.”

Continuing the discussion Monday night in a new attempt to prohibit most LED lighting in the windows of commercial buildings, chairman Jim McLean asked, “Is there a need for the BAR to regulate anything beyond the open/closed aspects of signage?”

 “Do we want to ask the town [council] to write an ordinance to give us [the BAR] the say-so on essentially, what is acceptable,” Mclean asked. “It doesn’t mean it won’t be permitted, but it gives us say-so on what the possibilities are.”-

McLean acknowledged that the board would not be able to vote since the matter was not listed for action on the agenda.

 “Is it the wishes of the board to have it [LED lighting] as a certificate of appropriateness for all lighted window signs beyond open/closed signs?” Town Administrator Carroll Williamson asked.

 “That would be my position, and if anything needs to be grandfathered in, it should be considered,” he said.

 “Based on comments the board has made, it’s unanimous,” McLean said to Williamson.

 “If I could just work with you, Mr. Chairman, and draft language, then we can work on a process for that,” Williamson said.

Following the meeting, Williamson confirmed to The Voice that the proposed ordinance to require LED lighting to have a certificate of occupancy will not be on the town council agenda Monday night.

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