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Planning and zoning finishes sign ordinance

James Rada
Emmitsburg Dispatch

(4/5) The Emmitsburg Planning and Zoning Commission approved the final piece of a new town sign ordinance on March 26.

“We took the final vote and gave it our stamp of approval,” said Chairman Larry Little. “Once we get the final draft back, we’ll sign it and pass it over to the town commissioners.”

The ordinance rewrite has gone on for three years as the commissioners and public have worked to put together something that will be fair and uniform.

“This started off to be one small change in political signs,” Mayor Jim Hoover said. “It’s gone of for three years and the current ordinance is less than five years old.”

“I know it slowed down, but I wanted to make sure we did have the participation from the public,” Little said.

As an example, he said that the input the commission received from the Emmitsburg Business and Professional Association was valuable.

Hoover said one of the reasons that the ordinance took so long is that it “became very personal. There was a lot of personal interest in different sections.”

Now that it is completed, Hoover said he wants to compare the current ordinance with the ordinance that the commission sends to the town.

“It doesn’t matter what is. It doesn’t matter what was. It doesn’t matter what should be. They (the planning and zoning commission) looked at it with blinders on. So I want to see what was in there and what was removed,” Hoover said.

The ordinance set the rules governing signs that are displayed in town. It can affect banners, home signs, business signs and political signs. Little said he also plans to have a catalog filled with examples of acceptable types of signs to show people the variety that the ordinance still allows for signs.

“A sign ordinance can help us, as a town, look good and sell ourselves,” Little said.
Hoover also added that the ordinance will give the town enforcement power over the signs to make sure that everyone “is treated fair and reasonably.”

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