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West Jefferson delays vote on sign ordinance

Originally published: Feb. 7, 2013
Last modified: Feb. 7, 2013

Jesse Campbell

Needing more time to study the proposed changes, the West Jefferson Board of Aldermen has delayed any action on the town’s newly proposed sign ordinance. 

Following Monday’s public hearing, which is standard practice any time a municipality is considering adopting a new law, the aldermen expressed their apprehension in making a decision.

Citing the absence of Aldermen Stephen Shoemaker and Mayor Dale Baldwin, Alderman Lester Mullis said he would “be more comfortable voting with a full board.”

Alderman Calvin Green seconded that motion and said he would need “more time to read” the ordinance. 

If approved, the proposed ordinance will replace the town’s outdated law with major revisions.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, 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. 

Fire substation

Representatives from the Stone Bridge and Big Tree housing developments approached the board about the possibility of the town constructing a nearby fire substation. 

Home owner Ed Braxton said there are more than 300 homes between both communities and is concerned about the welfare of his neighbors in the event of a fire.

Braxton said the West Jefferson Volunteer Fire Department is more than 10 minutes from either community. Braxton said he has already watched two homes burn completely to the ground since he has lived in the area. 

A fire substation or auxiliary department in the vicinity would reduce response times, said Braxton. 

After speaking with other fire chiefs in the county, Braxton believes a new fire station would cost approximately $350,000.

Considering the taxes the community contributes, Braxton said the residents had a right to the service.

“We have no more than two kids in the school system and we do not use the Department of Social Services,” said Braxton. 

More time needed for antiques fair

After talking with concerned business owners in the downtown district, the aldermen rescinded its vote to allow the second annual antique’s fair to take place on East Main Street.

While the board is not opposed to having the fair in West Jefferson, Mullis said it “might have acted hastily” in approving the location previously. 

Alderman Calvin Green said he is worried what type of impact the fair would have on local businesses if portions of Main Street are closed off to traffic. 

Mullis recommended other locations in the town for the festival, such as the town’s municipal park or Jefferson Station. No timeline on when another vote on the location of the fair was established.

For more information and stories, see Ashe Mountain Times.