Revised sign ordinance back on the table

Published 12:00 pm Thursday, March 17, 2016

After some revisions, a sign ordinance amendment defining and controlling temporary signs went before the Oxford Board of Aldermen Tuesday for its first reading.

In January, the aldermen pulled the amended ordinance off the table during the second reading and public hearing after the board received more than 50 letters of opposition about the changes, mostly from local Realtors.

Under the original amendment, temporary signs would be allowed without a permit but could not be displayed for more than 180 days in any consecutive 12-month period.

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One sign would have been allowed per residential and commercial lot but a second temporary sign would have been allowed only during an election season.

Temporary signs often are used for political campaigns, to advertise property for sale or lease or advertise new construction or remodeling, but are not limited to those uses.

The objections were mainly on how many signs would be allowed and the length of time they could remain there.

“The primary concern from people was the number of signs allowed in a yard,” Patterson said. “People want to express themselves in different ways. I think we’re on the same page now.”

The new amended ordinance presented Tuesday removed those restrictions and added some new verbiage. Now, if the ordi nance passes, a residence could have more than one sign; however, any signs that are exactly the same must be placed 50 feet apart. This would generally affect political signs.

“So, you can have unlimited different signs but if you have more than one of the same exact signs, it has to be 50 feet away from each other?” Patterson asked. “That sounds reasonable.”

Aldermen Ulysses Howell asked again for clarification if Realtor signs would be affected under the revisions.

“There is no time limit on those types of signs,” said Building Official Randy Barber.

The only temporary sign limited to the 180 days would be for new construction projects. New commercial and residential developments consisting of three or more primary structures may post one temporary sign, no more than 64 square feet in surface at the entrance to the development. Once 50 percent of the structures have received certificates of occupancy, the maximum size of the temporary sign can only be 32 square feet. The signs can remain 180 days after issuance of the last certificate of occupancy.

All other temporary signs can not exceed 6 square feet in surface and 4 feet in height in all single-family-zoned residential areas, neighborhood business zoned areas or designated historic preservation districts. Temporary signs in other area areas, including multi-family zoning and two-unit zoning, cannot exceed 32 square feet in surface and 8 feet in height.

Flag pole restriction lifted

Also removed from the updated amendment was a clause that limited properties from having only flag pole and verbiage that limited temporary signs on commercial businesses to 15 consecutive days on three occasions per calendar year. Under the new proposed amendment, only commercial banners would have this restriction.

The subject of controlling temporary signs came up after a large sign on a South Lamar home caused several residents to complain to the mayor and Board of Aldermen.

Also updated in the new ordinance amendment was the size of monument signs on bases. Residential subdivisions and developments containing multiple units can display one monument sign, not to exceed 8 feet in height and 24 square feet in sign area. The width of the base allowed will be 150 increase of height. Developments with multiple units can also have one wall sign, not to exceed 20 square feet.

A public hearing and second hearing of the amended ordinance will be held at 5 p.m. on March 29 at City Hall.