(6/19) The endlessly-ascending ribbons of
red, white and blue circling inside a glass tube is a well-known sign of
barbers that is seen in cities and town all across the country. However, until
recently it would not have been allowed in Emmitsburg under its new sign
The Emmitsburg mayor, commissioners and
planning and zoning commission have been reworking the sign ordinance over the
past few years and approved it in December 2007.
Recently it was brought to the attention
of Town Planner Sue Cipperly that barber poles were omitted in the ordinance
and due to it being considered and “animated sign” they are prohibited, which
did not sit well with some.
“I would really like to keep my barber
pole,” said Jaime Andrew, owner of Emmitsburg Family Barbershop & Salon. “A lot
of people come in because of the pole. It has a history.”
Dee Connolly of Antiques Folly agreed with
“The barber pole is a piece of Americana
and Emmitsburg is a historic town and we need to keep this for Emmitsburg’s
charm,” Connolly said.
While Andrews’ pole is safe because it was
grandfathered in, any future owners of her shop would face the fate of losing
the pole if the ordinance was not changed. Cipperly said that she thought the
issue seemed “like more of an omission” that an intentional decision.
After a discussion by the Emmitsburg town
commissioners, the decision was made to include barber poles as acceptable
signage in the sign ordinance and allow only licensed barbershops to display
To ensure that no other animated signs
will be allowed the sign ordinance now states that “‘Barber Pole’ is a
traditional symbol used to identify the place of business of a barber. For
purposes of this ordinance, a barber pole is not considered to be an animated
or illuminated sign, but a traditional symbol of a service profession.”
Although the decision to change the
ordinance was approved by the commissioners, Commissioner Denise Etris had
concerns with changing the sign ordinance.
Although Etris appreciates the barber pole
and approved the change, she asked “If we start changing the sign ordinance,
what’s the point in having an ordinance?” To which Cipperly said the sign
ordinance “needs work.”
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