It was a quiet night in Town Hall hearing room last Monday night. In part because Mayor Mark Kleinschmidt was “unable to be here,” according to Mayor Pro Tem Jim Ward, but also because council member Donna Bell was AWOL once again. She skipped the council meeting the previous week, too. She may well have had other plans, being that it was Valentine’s Day. She’s a relative newlywed compared to the other people on the dais, who perhaps have been part of a couple so long that they have tight rein on their romantic impulses. Lauren Easthom let slip that she had a Valentine’s Day surprise from A Southern Season waiting for her at home. Kleinschmidt no longer wears his wedding ring, so maybe he had nothing better to do that evening.
But evidently, Bell doesn’t work on holidays, so she took President’s Day off, too. The remaining council members who did show up despite the holiday, seemed somewhat sullen initially. No one said a word for the first half hour of the meeting, well into the commercial ground sign amendment discussion. But then we saw signs of life.
The proposed text amendment change to the Land Use Management Ordinance calls for allowing signs somewhat larger than those outside Patterson Place, New Hope Commons and Carrboro Plaza. A representative from the Chamber of Commerce spoke in favor of the change that would allow signage of up to 216 square feet, 12 feet tall and 10 feet wide, with signage on both sides of the structure. (The 216 sft figure includes a frame that would not have text on it.)
Sally Greene wondered how town staff came up with the 216 sft size, when a smaller sign would seem to accomplish the goals of making it easier for the public to know which stores are located in the commercial area. No one had a definitive answer for her.
No one from the public spoke against the increased signage. Council seemed willing to make the signs taller, in light of the fact that vegetation at the base of the sign often obscured the text closest to the bottom. The matter will be taken up again at the March 28 meeting.
– Nancy Oates