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Village Vision News

Village Signs Come Under Discussion

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Some refinements in sign regula- tions will ensure that Village ordi- nances are in sync with the newly approved comprehensive plan. Digital/electronic signs were among the topics in the unified development ordinance which Planning & Zoning Commis- sion members discussed Aug. 23. Members reviewed 26 pages of a draft copy of proposed sign regu- lations.

Village Administrator Mike Miller set the tone for the evening’s two-hour discussion following an initial review of sign terminology, landscaping around signs and the flexibility to approve signs based on topography. Cost effectiveness for small businesses was foremost on his mind. “We have to give small businesses the flexibility to use signs,” he said.

Miller referred to the trend for digital signs and said the Village is not alone in struggling with this issue, but added that he is biased for business. “I know where [the Village’s] revenues come from,” he said, while cautioning that the Village’s challenge is to be busi- ness friendly “...without turning it into a Las Vegas strip.” He pro- vided commission members with highlighted sections of the Vil- lage’s comprehensive plan which sets forth its economic develop- ment plan. Forsyth is in competition with every other municipality, Miller said, and its sales tax revenue is down whereas the sales tax revenues of Decatur and Mt. Zion are up.

“Some of our business customers are shifting away from Forsyth,” he observed. He said he firmly believes that the Village can target its ordinances for a specific area without restricting the use of digital signs.

“When done well, it adds to the aesthetics of the place,” he said, concluding that digital signs could generate traffic.

Mike Hoffman of Teska Associ- ates, Inc., the consulting company hired in late 2011 to partner with the Village to update its comprehensive plan and to solve such problems as signage for businesses, said he can use more specific language that would be more business friendly and eliminate the need for businesses to apply for variances and exceptions to the rules. Commission member Dennis Downey said the Village is moving toward the future with digital signs. “Be as business friendly as possible,” he advised.

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