Commonwealth Journal

News Live

July 29, 2013

Problem Signs

Somerset Council is ready to rid highways of proliferation of signs


Somerset —

Signs are not allowed to be placed on trees or utility poles, according to the ordinance.
Several councilors seemed ready and willing to face the issue.
“If we’re going to have an ordinance, let’s enforce it,” said Councilor Jerry Girdler. “If not, let’s not even have it.”
Councilor Jim Mitchell, who has brought the signs up in past council meetings, said he believes officials will receive praise for the enforcement alongside complaints from businesses and organizations found to be non-compliant. 
“I think you’ll get as many compliments as you will gripes,” said Mitchell. 
City Building Inspector Dennis Crist helped draft the 1995 ordinance, and he appeared during the workshop to give his own take on the situation. 
 “We had the city looking really good,” Crist said. “Nobody had a problem with it as long as we were treating everybody the same.”
Crist said he estimates that 99 percent of the city’s signs are non-conforming — meaning they’re in direct violation of the city ordinance. 
“We’ve slacked up and it’s ... gone downhill since,” said Jerry Girdler, who called the high number of signs “trashy.”
Councilor Donna Hunley also threw her two cents in, and agreed that something should be done. 
“I think we need to enforce it,” said Hunley. “Make our city beautiful.”
Mayor Girdler said the city may be facing additional questions about what constitutes a sign in the near future because some advertising strategies have appeared since the ordinance was last amended. 
Mayor Girdler said local businesses will non-conforming signs will be told about the enforcement and asked to remove the signs within 30 to 60 days. He said the city will then go from there. 
Mayor Girdler also announced the council’s decision to enforce the ordinance during the Somerset City Council meeting held later that evening on July 22. 
“We will be strengthening and enforcing our sign ordinance, particularly along 27 in our intersections,” said Mayor Girdler, who added the city will contact businesses with signs “littered throughout 27 ... so it doesn’t look so cluttered and junky.”
Ordinances 05-16 and 95-3 can be found on the City of Somerset website at:

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