The West Jefferson Board of Aldermen are in the process of revising the first draft of a proposed new sign ordinance.
West Jefferson Town Manager Brantley Price said the existing ordinance has been “totally rewritten,” but is “a long way from being adopted.”
Rewriting of the ordinance was needed because the regulations have been hard to enforce as written, Price said.
The proposed ordinance says that “too many signs or poorly maintained signs” can harm the town’s economic vitality. Regulations seek to provide uniform signage standards which promote the culture, history and beauty of West Jefferson, and to balance the interests of individual business promotion with promotion of the town’s economic interests as a whole.
Individual businesses have a definite stake in how those interests are balanced.
Shelley Felder, proprietor of The Honey Hole, sells honey and beekeeping supplies on North Third Avenue, one of the town’s back streets. The current ordinance prohibits her use of off-site signage on East Main Street.
Regarding the current regulations, Felder said “I appreciate that there are not signs all over everywhere.” But, she said, businesses on the back streets need off-site signage to effectively direct customers.
“I can tell a $500 or $600 a day difference when I have signs out and when I don’t,” she said.
In addition to prohibiting off-site signage, one proposed regulation reads: “No new billboards shall be erected within the zoning jurisdiction of the Town of West Jefferson after December 31, 2012.”