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County is asked to amend sign laws
Nash County's Board tabled a text amendment request which would exclude real estate, political and public auction signs from all Unified Development Ordinance (UDO) regulations.

The request came from Cecil Williams and Fairfield Realty. According to Planner Rosemary Dorsey, Williams wants to amend the UDO so the county will not regulate the number, placement and time limitations on real estate, public auction and political signs. The UDO currently states that no signs are allowed in the right-of-way. The signs, Dorsey added, have become a visual issue because they sometimes block the view of traffic when they are placed in the right of way.

"It's just a safety issue," Dorsey said.

The real issue with the signs in the right-of-way areas, Dorsey said, were the directional signs, which point out where a home is. "That's the issue,"she said. "That's the real issue."

Dorsey added that other counties don't allow signs in the right-of-way but generally, there is little enforcement.

The Planning Board voted 5-2 to deny the request. Dorsey said the board felt the county's regulations were consistent with the Department of Transportation's and should not be changed.

During the public hearing, Bill Bass, of DOT, said the right-of-way issues were the law and he appreciated the county trying to enforce the issue. "Regardless of your decision today, we will still ask county's to notify us of violations," Bass said. "We don't have the support of other counties like we do here. Regardless of the county's decision today, it's still the law."

Kathleen Williams, of Prudential Ferrell Realty, asked the board to try to work something out that would work for all involved. "I would just like to see some type of help for us," Williams said.

Cecil Williams told the board that 70% of houses sold are sold as a result of the person seeing signs. Limiting the signage in the right-of-ways would hurt real estate agents, he added. "I don't think it's fair," he said.

Commissioner Fred Belfield asked that the item be tabled and sent back to the Planning Board so that a more workable solution could be found. It was also decided to form a committee and bring the solution to the board in 60 days. The request was approved with Commissioner Jay Alford voting against the request.

A rezoning request from Allen Daniels was approved during the board's Monday morning meeting. The request was to rezone 1.0 acres at 5598 Southern Nash High Road from General Industrial - Conditional Use to RC-CU and R-40. Dorsey said one acre of the property would be for a forklift equipment repair business. The conditions would include an outside storage area limited to 20' immediately behind the existing building, the existing building is not to be expanded, signage is limited to a permitted wall sign only and the business will operate a maximum of 10 hours a day.

A second part of the request was for a small section of the adjoining property, owned by Barbara Lewis. Dorsey said this section was in the original GI-CU zoning for a truck maintenance shop but was split by a 2000 subdivision of the original tract of land. The request was to rezone that piece to R-40 to match the rest of the 9.4 acre tract.

The board unanimously voted to approve the request.

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