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Still no sign ordinance after two years

Stephanie Long
Emmitsburg Dispatch

(12/6) Over two years ago, the Emmitsburg sign ordinance went under scrutiny following allegations that the ordinance violated political sign regulations and a challenge by the American Civil Liberties Union to the same effect. After undergoing lengthy review, discussion and revision by the Emmitsburg Planning and Zoning Commission, the final revised ordinance was handed to the Emmitsburg mayor and town commissioners on Nov. 19 for review and approval, but to the dismay of some it was not met with immediate approval.

“I feel that we presented something that was directly responding to the community,” said Tim O’Donnell, vice chair of the planning and zoning commission, at the commission’s Nov. 26 meeting. “I feel that it missed the mark when it went in front of commissioners and I really regret that.”

For 13 months the planning and zoning commission worked through the sign ordinance, addressing several concerns raised by the town commissioners, residents and businesses, which included addressing issues pertaining to political signs and self-illuminated signs.

Despite that, the commissioners discussed the ordinance at length on Nov. 19 and made several revisions to the proposed ordinance.

One major revision was the commissioners added to the ordinance that nonconforming signs may not be replaced once taken down, even if taken down for a brief time for repair. Other major revisions were made to the temporary signs section of the ordinance, which included the removal of a bullet outlining regulations of political signs.

Other minor revisions were made to the ordinance and discussion on the ordinance is expected to continue at the December 17 meeting. It is unknown when the ordinance will be voted upon, as there are still issues the council would like to address.

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