Sign ordinance to be topic of second public hearing
Last modified: Feb. 21
West Jefferson Aldermen will revisit two issues that could set precedents on how businesses and community associations promote the town in the future.
Following motions to table the discussions for future meetings, the board will reconvene on Monday, March 4, to vote on a newly proposed sign ordinance and whether or not they will reverse an earlier decision concerning a downtown festival.
After an earlier decision to allow the West Jefferson Business Association to hold the second annual “Olde Town Antiques Fair” on East Main Street was rescinded, downtown merchants came to the consensus to re-approach the town on issue.
The WJBA will reaffirm its desire about where the festival should be held when it comes before the board in two weeks.
The aldermen have long contended they are in favor of the festival, but not on the location.
Although the board initially gave the approval to hold the festival on Main Street, it changed its ground after the decision drew concern from two downtown business: Parker Tie hardware company and Parkway Movie Theater.
Both business owners say they are worried the weekend festival, which is set for September, could affect customer parking.
Tony Eldreth, owner of the movie theater, wishes the association would see his side of the issue.
“I’m not against it (the festival),” said Eldreth. “I am 100 percent for it. I just don’t want it in front of the theater. Anytime you cover something up like that, people won’t come to you.”
Eldreth said he is worried that if patrons can not park near the theater, he could sustain a significant hit at the box office.
Eldreth continued by explaining his contractual obligations to movie companies that expect healthy ticket sales from weekend showings.
“The movie companies may think twice before sending another blockbuster,” said Eldreth.
Town Manager Brantley Price said the town would hold a second public hearing prior to vote on the proposed sign ordinance.
The hearing will be held at the beginning of the meeting at 6 p.m.
Aldermen Stephen Shoemaker and Mayor Dale Baldwin could not attend the first public hearing, and Price said he also wanted greater community input and conversation before a vote took place.
Aldermen decided to table the ordinance for a future meeting on March 4 to “allow more time” to study it, said Aldermen Calvin Green.
If approved, the proposed ordinance will replace the town’s law with major revisions.
The new ordinance covers a variety of signage including signs for awnings, billboards, directions to places, windows, festivals, gasoline pumps, historic locations, real estate, holiday decorations, as well public service signs and others.
The sign regulations also state that uniform standards will allow businesses to effectively identify its location to customers, as well as the goods and services it provides.
Additionally, the regulations will look to balance the individual interest of a business with the town’s interest of promoting the economic vitality of the town.