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Code Changes: Proposed Ordinance would amend sign requirements for Office, Commercial, Industrial districts

By Bill Short
flag-city-logoThe Millington Board of Mayor and Aldermen has unanimously passed an ordinance on first reading that would amend the sign requirements for Office, Commercial and Industrial zoning districts.
Board members took the action during their Nov. 14 regular monthly meeting on a motion offered by Alderman Mike Caruthers and seconded by Alderman Frankie Dakin.
The proposed ordinance, recommended by the Millington Municipal Planning Commission, is scheduled for a final reading at the board’s Dec. 12 meeting. It would amend the Municipal Code’s zoning provisions by revising Section 14-2404.
Charles Goforth, planning consultant for the city, said the ordinance would not change the number of signs a business can have, but where the signs can be placed.
“Currently, our ordinance provides that a business can have two signs,” he noted. “But they have to be on the front of the building.”
Goforth said several businesses in Millington have “very narrow” buildings that are close to the road. So, a sign on the front of the building is difficult to see.
“This would give them an opportunity to put the sign on the side of the building,” he noted. “So, when you’re driving down the highway, you would be able to see it.”
He said the proposed ordinance would also allow two small signs on the canopy of a service station. Neither sign could exceed 20 square feet, which would be 2-by-10 feet.
Goforth acknowledged that many of the older service stations in the city have signs on their canopies. But he recalled that, when the ordinance was amended in 2010, those signs were no longer allowed.
“So, for the gas stations on Navy Road, you can’t see the buildings,” he noted. “The buildings are back, and the canopies are out front.”
Goforth said the “real change” in the proposed ordinance would allow signs on the canopy and a sign on the front or the side of the building, as long as it does not face a residential property.
“They wouldn’t get additional signs,” he noted. “But they could have it on the canopy instead of on the building or on the ground sign.”
During discussion shortly before the vote, Caruthers said the planning commission asked Goforth to give the service station owners a choice of whether to have the sign on the canopy or on the building.
“They chose to double up on the canopy,” the alderman noted. “So, I think it’s a good thing for them.”
Dakin asked whether the prohibition of signs facing residential property would include multi-family as well as single-family.
“Basically, any sign facing any residential, we would make them put it on the front,” Goforth replied. “We don’t want lights from the signs reflecting on houses in the residential areas.”
While acknowledging that Dakin raised a “good point” with his question, Goforth said that is something the board can “think about” before the issue “comes up again.”

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