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Sign ordinance placed on hold

Posted: March 19, 2017 - 1:42am

No news is good news for many Columbia County businesses.

After two weeks of revisions to a proposed sign ordinance, the planning and zoning commission opted to table the proposal Thursday evening, allowing for more discussions and revisions to be made to the ordinance that Director of Planning and Zoning Andrew Strickland believes is necessary.

"Columbia County is growing quickly and as a product of that, many of our ordinances that deal with business regulations and development regulations are just outdated - they don't give us the product that the commission and community desires," he told Buzz on Biz radio host John Patrick on March 7.

The ordinance, which would limit the size, location and, in some cases, design of future business signs, was first publicly opposed by the Columbia County Chamber of Commerce in a news release on March 1.

Since then, Chamber President Tammy Shepherd and members of the Chamber sign ordinance subcommittee met with Strickland to voice their concerns about the ordinance and make recommendations for changes. Many of those recommendations were accommodated, for which Shepherd is grateful.

"Great progress has been made and the county has been very receptive of our concerns," she said. "It's been a great relationship and we appreciate the opportunity to be at the table."

Prior to Thursday's planning and zoning meeting, the Chamber board of directors met and released their final recommendations. Those were shared in an email to its members Thursday afternoon and later that evening to the planning and zoning commission by board of directors member Pat Goodwin. Following the Chamber's recommendations, several individual business owners and members of the community voiced their opinions on the proposal.

Some shared concerns over inaccurate calculations in some of the measurements mentioned in the document, noting that the numbers do not add up correctly. Others questioned the wording in the proposal, particularly that window wraps were a safety issue although ultimately no different than a business having blinds or reflective windows.

With those concerns, the planning and zoning commission felt that adjustments were still necessary before voting on the sign ordinance. The next meeting will be held April 20 at 6 p.m.


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