Selectmen discuss sign bylaws
By Genevieve Jinson, Community Reporter
Northborough – The Board of Selectmen continued its discussion on proposed changes to the town's sign bylaws with several other town officials during its Feb. 25 meeting. The proposed amendments, which will be on the warrant for the Monday, April 22, Annual Town Meeting, will first be discussed during a Planning Board public hearing Tuesday, March 5.
After a nearly hour-long discussion the selectmen agreed to send a letter to the Planning Board with their recommendations.
Included in the letter will be a request that non-commercial signs have particular parameters written into the sign bylaw. Currently, no parameters exist for non-commercial signs, including nonprofits and town-sponsored events, and in particular, Applefest. The board requested that the parameters, specifically time frame, location and allowance of an exception on a structural basis, be written in to the town's current bylaws.
Selectman Aaron Hutchins commented that he disagreed with his fellow board members and added that he believed there was never an issue with non-commercial signs, but rather thought the issue was with the commercial signs.
“I feel like we’re making hay out of something that doesn’t exist and we’re trying to put regulations on things that aren’t problems,” he said.
The board also added in its letter its stance on real estate signs and political signs on town property. The selectmen unanimously agreed that these signs should not be allowed on town property.
Selectman Leslie Rutan reiterated her comments from a previous meeting.
“My personal opinion is that there should not be an exception for one group of people who want to sell something. Everyone wants to sell something,” she said. “Every business contributes to the vitality of this community and I don’t think there should be an exception made for any of them.”
The board also commented on temporary signs.? Currently, temporary signs are allowed under the current bylaw with certain restrictions. The current restrictions include a 45-day limit within a calendar year, one temporary sign per business, and a size restriction of 15 square feet. The board has proposed additional restrictions that call for signs being taken down by the end of the business day; if the sign is on the sidewalk, it cannot obstruct pedestrian traffic or reduce open sidewalk to less than four feet; and the signs must be located on property that is being advertised.
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