Planning Commission Minutes
Emmitsburg Town Office
April 26, 2004
Free Standing Sign Request in Village Zone B continued
from March meeting.
Mr. Lucas presented a staff report following his site
visit and review of the pertinent town ordinances (see
attached). Staff concluded that a free-standing sign
was not permitted under the current ordinances which
were adopted at the request of the Planning and Zoning
Commission in 2002. A sign attached to the primary
structure would be permitted under the existing
applicant, Ms Thelma Richardson of 400 West Main
Street maintained her request for a free-standing
sign. She maintained that a sign attached to the
house, her future business location, would be less
visible from Main Street. Mr. Staiger asked Mr. Lucas
if there were other free-standing signs in the village
Lucas replied that there were such signs but that they
predated the current ordinance and could not be
replaced if removed under the current town ordinances.
Commissioner Sweeney commented that a sign attached to
the house would be difficult to see while driving
along Main Street. Mr. Lind agreed, adding that the
house was not on the sidewalk and was one of the few
on Main Street which are set back.
Briggs noted the need to promote destination retail in
the Village Zone, the difficulty of seeing a sign
placed on the house, and encouraged some sort of
solution. Commissioner Sweeney asked Mr. Lucas if a
special exception could be granted but Mr. Lucas
responded that he felt this would remove the teeth of
the existing ordinance and prevent the ability to
adequately control signage in the Village Zone. Mr.
Lucas added that it would be better to request a text
amendment. Commissioner Sweeney asked Mr. Lucas if it
would be possible to create a text amendment
addressing houses that are set back from the street.
Lucas responded yes, if a motion was made and
approved. Mr. Staiger commented on the need to
consider the effect of such a text amendment
throughout the Main Street area and asked Mr. Lucas
why a 35 foot setback was required when no structures
on Main Street met such a requirement. He asked if the
intent was to prevent free-standing signs all
together. Mr. Lucas responded that he was not aware
that was the case. Mr. Staiger advised that as the
ordinance is currently written, the current
application should not be approved although the
commission could request a text amendment allowing the
application under certain conditions. Mr. Lucas added
that the applicant would have to withdrawal the
current request. Ms. Richardson decided to withdrawal
her current application.
MOTION by Commissioner Sweeney: to direct staff to
research a text amendment allowing for free standing
signs in the village zone under certain conditions,
including where the building in question is set back
from the sidewalk and view of a sign attached that
structure would be obscured by neighboring buildings.
Motion seconded by Mr. Lind. VOTE: Approved 4-0
Continuing Review of the 1998 Comprehensive Plan
Chairman Staiger inquired about the status of the
update of sections one through three. Mr. Lucas
commented that the entire document should soon be
converted from a text copy to a Word file that could
then be edited on the computer.
There being no more business to conduct, Chairman
Staiger requested a motion to adjourn.
MOTION: to adjourn by Mr. Briggs and seconded by Mr.
VOTE: 4-0 to approve the motion to adjourn.