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Sign changes to go to council

(10/16) The Fairfield Borough Planning Commission voted at their November 12 meeting to send proposed sign regulation changes to the borough Council for consideration for adoption.

The planning commission voted unanimously at their meeting to recommend that the council implement changes to the signage rules that the commission developed along with assistance from the Adams County Office of Planning and Development.

The regulations would only apply to the Village Core area of Fairfield, which principally consists of nearly the entirety of Main Street, and the Historic District, which lies within the Village Core, and would take in changes to what signs can be regulated, color schemes, and other limitations, including indoor signs viewable within 12 inches of a window.

The planning commission began its review of borough sign earlier this year, initially prompted by questions regarding color schemes of signs located in the Historic District (which would be governed by the Historic Architectural Review Board (HARB).

However, the sign regulation review was expanded to consider all of the sign regulations as they currently existed regarding the Village Core, not only for apparent ambiguities in the rules, but also because it had been determined that there were a number of signs in town that were in violation of regulations.

There are reportedly 13 business signs in the borough which are not in compliance with the current sign regulations, but most were "grandfathered" in, meaning they existed before the regulations were originally promulgated.

However, according to planning commission member Francis Cool, of those 13, five were not "grandfathered" and do violate the existing regulations.

Carroll Smith, commission member and liaison for the borough Council, was concerned early on about the planning commission taking the lead of revisiting the signage regulations.

Smith stated at the planning commission’s July meeting that said he felt the planning commission taking the lead was not the appropriate course of action. "I think we’re going about this the wrong way," he said. "We have various individuals giving opinions," Smith noted, "but we still have not gotten any direction (from council)."

The commission never-the-less persevered under the guidance of Robert Thaeler, county Office of Planning and Development.

A public hearing would have to be scheduled for adoption could take place, if and when the council approves the proposed changes.

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