Claremont approves sign ordinance amendments

Claremont officials recently approved amendments to its sign ordinance that will allow businesses to incorporate high-rise signs close to its property.

Claremont City Council members approved amendments Tuesday that will establish a high-rise sign overlay district adjacent to Interstate 40 that will let business owners incorporate up to 80-foot-tall signs either on or near their property.

“We are trying to be a little more business friendly,” said Claremont City Manager Doug Barrick. “We are also trying to attract new businesses to the interchange.”   

Nothing is being put on interstate property, but the signs will have to be within 350 feet of the right of way on private property, Barrick said. Each high-rise sign must be 150 feet from another.

The high-rise overlay district consists of different parcels of land adjacent to I-40. Though some of the land in the parcels extends 2,000 feet from the highway, the high-rise signs must still be within 350 feet of the right of way, Barrick said.

Barrick said that city council and the Claremont Planning Board have been discussing the amendments for months after recommendations from local business owners.

Though the high-rise signs will change the look of the Claremont landscape, Barrick said the city has not received any complaints from citizens.

“We have held multiple public hearings, and we have had a few businesses in favor of it,” Barrick said. “We don’t have any negative feedback, as far as we know. This request was initiated by two local businesses that wanted the signs, and our code didn’t allow for it.”

Claremont held a public hearing Tuesday night about the sign ordinance, but no one spoke about the issue.

In addition to having a maximum height of 80 feet, the signs can be no more than 150-square-feet in area.

“We want to grow, and business is business,” said Claremont Mayor David Morrow. “In order to bring that in, we have to have business signing.”

Morrow added that the amendments the council approved will help businesses “be fair to their neighbor.”

In the sign ordinance amendment, Claremont also approved new text for electronic message boards. The text stated that electronic message boards:

-Must meet dimensional sign requirements of ground mounted signs
-May use LED or digital technology
-Message must stay static for 20 seconds
-Electronic message area may not exceed 50 percent of sign area
-Must not have diffused light rays cast on neighboring property or right of way
-Message cannot flash, scroll or flutter when changing.