Fraser poised to OK revised Grand Park sign code
April 26, 2010
FRASER – The issue of signs in Grand Park’s future business district resurfaced at the Fraser Board of Trustees meeting Wednesday, April 21.
The board, staff and public continued to debate questions ranging from how big signs should be to how many should be allowed along U.S. Highway 40.
Developer Clark Lipscomb is seeking to amend the sign code that governs his 70-acre development on the south side of town for businesses in the village area, located south and west of the new recreation center. The village, as proposed, would include about 12 blocks of commercial development.
Since the buildings would be set back from the highway and tucked away on side streets, proper signage is key for those businesses to be successful, Lipscomb said.
After a nearly a year-and-a-half of debate over the ratios, size and types of signs that should be allowed in the village, the issue appears to be nearing a resolution. The board directed town planner Catherine Trotter to work with Lipscomb to make four changes to the proposed language. With those changes, the majority of the board appears ready to support the plan.
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While the trustees were debating whether off-premise signs should be limited to a radius of 200 or 300 feet from the business, new board member Peggy Smith said: “I have a number in mind – it’s zero.”
In retort, Lipscomb said: “I have an investment in mind – and it’s zero.”
Lipscomb said that he is trying to bring in business, tourism and jobs with this development and in order for it to succeed, signs drawing people off the highway are essential.
Smith, who previously sat on the town’s planning commission, spoke strongly against allowing offsite signs, noting that no other resort towns in the region have such a provision. She expressed concerns that such signs would clutter the highway and side streets.
Other board members said that being able to see signage from the highway is crucial to the success of businesses in the village.
“When I’m out looking for something, like a skateboard shop, I want to see the skateboard shop sign (from the highway),” said Trustee Scotty Brent.
Ultimately, the majority of trustees agreed that the issue could be resolved by not only limiting off-premise signs to a 200-foot radius from the business but also requiring town board approval of any off-premise signs.
By the numbers
The proposed sign plan amendment creates a 3:1 ratio for square feet of signage to linear feet of store-frontage. The plan would require that the allowable square footage be divided between at least two signs with the maximum sign size set at 150 square feet.
For example, a building with 100 feet of store-frontage could have a total of 300 square feet of signage, divided into a minimum of two signs. Per the regulation, both signs could be 150 square feet. (By way of comparison, Lipscomb’s existing billboards are 120 square feet, Trotter said.)
“The size of the sign is not as important as the scale of the building,” Clark noted.
Hoping to prevent the majority of the 3:1 ratio from going into one sign, the board recommended adding to the language that “no more than 75 percent of the total allowable signage per business may be used by any one sign.”
At press time, staff was trying to clarify the board’s intent regarding this language.
Other minor fixes in terminology include changing the term “primary street” to “public street or private street with a public access easement” to avoid conflicting definitions with the town’s sign code as well as clarification of the hearing process for future review.
The board will look over the revisions in writing at its May 5 meeting. Town manager Jeff Durbin said he anticipates a motion for approval at that time.
– Reid Armstrong can be reached at 970-887-3334 ext. 19610 or firstname.lastname@example.org.