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Maiden relaxes sign rules

August 22, 2011

More political and sandwich board signs may be popping up around Maiden after officials passed a new signage ordinance this week.
 

“We found problems that (the old ordinance) wasn’t meeting the needs of the citizens.

It wasn’t allowing newer types of signs to be used,” Schultz said. “We tried to make it easier to understand for the regular person. We don’t always want to be doing enforcement, and we want people to read it, understand it and have a good ordinance in the end.”


Maiden officials passed a revised sign ordinance this week that they say better meets the needs of town citizens. The new ordinance allows for newer signage and brings the old code up to date, said Sam Schultz, Maiden’s planning director.


The ordinance addresses every aspect of signage in the town, and temporary signs received a lot of changes from the old code, Schultz said.


Temporary signs, such as real estate signs, sandwich board signs and political signs, among others, are now permitted in all zoning districts, but must conform to specific requirements in the ordinance.


Sandwich board signs, for instance, are permitted in front of businesses during its hours of operation, but must be stored inside the business when closed. 
“Sandwich board signs placed on a public sidewalk or other public walkway shall not block access or otherwise reduced the accessible to area to less than required under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA),” according to the ordinance.


There are other specific requirements of temporary, and all signs, in the revised ordinance, which can be accessed at Maiden’s Town Hall and website soon, Schultz said.


Maiden does not allow temporary signs between the sidewalk and the road, and they cannot go on town-owned property and must be placed 5 feet from any town utility.


According to the ordinance, the town can remove any sign not meeting requirements or that is not allowed, which include flashing signs, signs resembling traffic signals, signs on town-owned property and signs on utility poles, among others.


With election season getting underway, campaign signage is another issue the ordinance addresses. Maiden has seven candidates running for three town council seats, and election day is Nov. 8.


Political signs are prohibited on public property, except for at polling places on the day of the election or in any right of way 5 feet from roadway or sidewalk. The signs must also be removed within 48 hours after the election, as well. 

New UDO

The approved sign ordinance is just part of Maiden’s Unified Development Ordinance (UDO) that is currently being drafted.


The UDO addresses all issues of town code, and Shultz said the complete ordinance will be completed around October. The town council must approve the UDO before it is enacted.


“We’ve done other similar things to other ordinances to make sure we’ve got it right to have one clear book,” said Maiden Mayor Bob Smyre.

“We’re going to do one that’s up-to-date so everyone can understand it.

We’ve had to go through a lot, but the sign ordinance is one part of it. Sam has done a good job putting it all together.”


New economic developments in Maiden has extended the UDO drafting process twice as long as officials first hoped, Schultz said. They are still working on the new set of ordinances, and Schultz said it will be completed in a matter of months. 
“It puts it all into English,” Schultz said, “and we feel at the end of this project, it will allow our citizens to better understand local laws, improve business opportunities, and protect residential properties as well.”  

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