Planning Commission to present sign information

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By Stan Welch

The Town of Williamston Planning Commission is in the process of evaluating and reworking the town’s sign ordinance and how to best fit signs into the new Main Street program.

The placement of signs in or along SCDOT rights-of-way is a key issue, and Commission member Jim Simpson reported that DOT would be providing a map of Hwy. 20 through town, clarifying the width of the rights-of-way in various places. He added that DOT is very strict in terms of line of sight obstructions.

The Commission also discussed way finding signs, or signs directing people to specific destinations, whether it be the Town Hall or a local business. Two businesses, the Pink House Antiques, and All About Fabrics, were the focus of efforts to address the issue of showing the way to those locations as quickly as possible.

Commission Chairman Marion Middleton, Jr. pointed out that the two businesses, which are located off of Main Street, need immediate relief. Several types of signs were discussed, but the general consensus was that it was important to get something up for those businesses as soon as possible, and then explore ways to include them on more permanent and formal signage, as it is installed as part of the Main Street process.

Main Street Williamston Director Caroline Alex spoke to the matter of the proposed town sign ordinance, saying that specific language is a key to an effective ordinance. “Just saying if a sign looks good, it’s okay really doesn’t help much. We should also consider putting a review board in place to settle issues as they come up. For example, we already have some issues concerning portable signs being used in front of businesses. There is a major difference between a temporary sign and a portable one. It is important to try and get the merchants along Main Street to buy into the whole idea that we are also selling the town. We are looking for a minimal investment for a maximum impact.”

The Commission will present its finding to the Town Council at the next Council meeting which is set for Monday, Sept. 8 at 6 p.m.