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Amended ordinance for signs approved

New measures lift many restrictions on sandwich boards, allow for traditional flags

By Kim Walter -- kwalter@nvdaily.com

FRONT ROYAL -- After much debate in the past year, the Town Council has unanimously approved an amended sign ordinance.

Council members approved the new measures Monday. Specific definitions of animated signs, banners and traditional and non-traditional flag signs were added, as the terms come up in different sections of the ordinance.

Sign permits will no longer be required for traditional flag signs, as long as certain requirements are met. The conditions include the sign being no larger than 15 square feet, that words or letters on the sign should only communicate "Open" or "Open for Business," and that it should be located within 50 feet of the building entrance.

Many restrictions on the use of sandwich board signs have been lifted. One is allowed per business, it must be located with 50 feet of the building entrance and may not be located within the public-right-of-way unless a permit is granted. The signs are only to be displayed during business hours.

Additionally, the minimum clearance for a projecting sign has been changed from 9 feet of vertical clearance to 7 feet.

Craig Laird, president of Royal Oak Computers on Main Street, met with the town's Planning and Zoning Department about the ordinance, and spoke about it at a public hearing last year.

"The planning director has done a good job at recoding [the ordinance] and has put a lot of work into making it sound more sensible," Laird said.

The original ordinance was very confusing, he said. The definitions added make things much clearer, and the amendments allow more signs for each business, he said.

"It's a living document. There will be some glitches from time to time and those will be addressed," Laird said. "It's the best thing we can have at the moment."

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