- Published on Saturday, 07 July 2012 01:19
- Written by Super User
The Carolina Beach Town Council recently approved sign ordinance amendments to give business owners more options for temporary and permanent signs following a long period of non-enforcement. The Town will begin enforcing sign regulations July 15. An informational meeting is set for July 12.
By WILLARD KILLOUGH III
CAROLINA BEACH - Last summer the Town of Carolina Beach put a hold on enforcing certain sign regulations until the Planning Commission and Town Council could work on amendments to address various issues regarding temporary signs, banners and flags.
Last month the Council adopted amendments to the ordinance. Enforcement will begin again on July 15.
The Town's Planning Department has been visiting local businesses to alert them of the new rules while providing new permit applications.
The Planning Department reported to Council in July of last year that several businesses in Town were utilizing banners as attached permanent signs. Also, there were issues with banners within the public right-of-way at shopping centers and large flags.
The Council agreed to put a hold on enforcement of some sections of the ordinance until a meeting could be held to find some middle ground and get input on any future changes.
After numerous meetings held by the Council and Planning and Zoning Commission, the Council adopted amendments to the sign ordinance at their June 12, 2012 meeting.
According to Town Planning Director Ed Parvin, "Attached signs have historically been required to be located on the facade of the building only. This language has been expanded to allow attached signs on porch railings and support posts. In the Central Business District where there are no setbacks the ordinance has historically allowed for projecting signs. These signs may project out 4’ perpendicular from the building. An additional allowance has been added to state these signs may encroach up to 2 feet into the public right of way. This allowance is consistent with how many of the projecting signs were permitted on the boardwalk."
Parvin explained there was an allowance for temporary signs to be displayed as part of the permanent sign allocation. That created some aesthetic issues and the ordinance removes the allowance for additional attached temporary signs to eliminate that problem.
For Patriotic and Decorative Flags and Banners, Parvin explained, "The current ordinance allows for 1 of these signs per 25 feet of road frontage. This can result in an overwhelming amount of signage. The regulation has been reduced to allow 1 of these types of signs per 50 feet of road frontage, however the size restriction was modified based on comments from Town Council. The current size limit is 15 square feet for flags and 20 square feet for banners. This has been changed to a maximum of 24 square feet per flag or banner. 24 square feet is a common flag and banner size. It has been used to create consistency throughout the temporary commercial, patriotic, and decorative sign allowances for banners and flags."
He said the allowances for temporary signs have been simplified to state that one temporary sign is allowed all year by each individual business. The business owners now have the flexibility to choose from an array of temporary sign options.
There are five types of temporary signs including A-Frame, Portable, Banner, Flag and future development signs.
There are size requirements specific to each type.
Even though a business can utilize a temporary sign year-round, they must apply for a permit every 12 months.
Parvin said there are six businesses located at the Cross Bridge Village Shopping Center across from CVS Pharmacy with 467 feet of road frontage. He said each business could get a permit for a temporary sign in addition to their permanent sign allocations.
Parvin explained, "A little spread out here, you do have some other shopping centers that don't have as much right of way and there are more units. So you would have even more cluttered appearance at some of your shopping centers if everybody took advantage of this. There is a potential there for having a lot of clutter."
There is no uniform appearance standard for temporary signs at a shopping center along the road front.
Temporary signs are not permitted in the right-of-way.
Parvin said it is not the purpose or intent of this ordinance to regulate signage displayed for special occasions not associated with a business (i.e. balloons for birthday parties or birth of a baby, etc.).
"Human signs" are no longer permitted. That's where someone dresses up to advertise a business standing along the road.
Parvin said during the June 12, meeting that go-carts out in front of a Sports Bar would have to be removed because they count as signs even though there is no writing upon the carts.
The ordinance states, "Due to detrimental impact illegal signs can have on existing businesses, the community, and the Town of Carolina Beach’s ability to maintain compliance with sign regulations, the time for compliance shall be within forty-eight (48) hours after the date of the first written notice of violation."
The ordinance also allows for signs to encroach into the right of way in the Central Business District largely due to buildings which occupy nearly all of a parcel.
The Council voted three to two to approve the amendments to the ordinance.
Mayor Ray Rothrock and Council members Bob Lewis and Lonnie Lashley voted in favor of the amendments. Council members Sarah Friede and Steve Shuttleworth voted no.
The Town of Carolina Beach will hold a meeting Thursday, July 12, 2012 from 5:30 PM to 6:30 PM at Carolina Beach Town Hall in the Council Room located at 1121 N. Lake Park Blvd.
The purpose of the meeting is to better inform business owners of the new sign regulations prior to July 15th.