Signs of the times

If you are in business, you have to let potential customers know you exist. Tonight, Town Council will hold a public hearing about amending the Land Use Management Ordinance to make room for bigger, brighter ground signs for commercial centers. The amendment applies only to centers with a minimum of eight businesses and at least 50,000 square feet of commercial space. So my neighbors needn’t worry that I’m backing this change in order to install an internally illuminated tower in my front yard to advertise my writing and editing business.

The Planning Board backs the amendment, providing that the larger signs aren’t placed on streets where the speed limit is less than 35 mph. This tends to be residential areas.

The Community Design Commission has yet to weigh in. The committee discussed the issue at its Feb. 16 meeting, and the town manager will make its comments public tonight. But in his memo to staff, town manager Roger Stancil nixed the idea that “in order to accommodate innovative, attractive and creative signage” the Community Design Commission be able to review signage that does not meet the height and base requirements.

I never thought I’d find myself in the same camp as Stancil, taking a position that sounds like I’m backing the Cary-ization of Chapel Hill, but there you have it. If bigger, brighter signs would benefit local businesses, more power to them. If you disagree, tonight’s your chance to speak up.
– Nancy Oates

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4 Comments

  1. Wonder what this means for the new Walgreens?

  2. George C

     /  February 21, 2011

    Will,
    It’s not in a commercial center so it would be covered under the existing ordinance.

  3. George, I know that but I heard that Walgreens wanted to do one of their scrolling signs down on Estes/Franklin. If so, I wonder how they feel seeing this update to LUMO which pointedly excludes that type signage.

    Do you know if the rumor is true, that Walgreens wanted a scroller and was unhappy not to get one? I haven’t been following much of its design aspects outside of the twisted road proposals.

  4. George C

     /  February 21, 2011

    The CDC used to review signage but that was changed a number of years back so if Walgreens did propose a scrolling sign it would have been to the Planning Staff. Sorry, can’t shed any light on that rumor.

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