County sign ordinance in the process of refinement

Towns County Courthouse

HIAWASSEE, Ga. – Towns County Planning Committee convened on the evening of Tuesday, Sept. 11, to further discuss plans to strengthen the existing billboard ordinance, setting forth guidelines that may be enacted.

FYN met with Towns County Commissioner Cliff Bradshaw the following day to gain clarity on the complex endeavor.

While Bradshaw stated that the specifics of the revisement are in the early stages of development, the commissioner firmly committed to the project. “I’m all for businesses, and we want them to be able to advertise and prosper in the county, but we are trying to maintain what we have. Allowing billboards to run wild will bring about a change in the county that we won’t want to see,” Bradshaw told FYN, “It would definitely hurt the economy in the long run.”

As previously reported, Bradshaw reiterated the recent surge in signage permit requests, stating that his office has received a notable spike due to a Department of Transportation website which “blasted” the lax county ordinance that is currently in place. With county growth projected to soar in the future, Bradshaw seeks to contain the matter before it gets out of hand. A 90-day moratorium was placed on sign permits on July 17, 2018, in order to temporarily quell the sizeable increase.

Towns County Commissioner Cliff Bradshaw

Commissioner Cliff Bradshaw

Bradshaw stressed that ordinance revision applies solely to off-premise advertisement.

Bradshaw assured that he is working closely with the Planning Committee, and Towns County Attorney Robb Kiker, to form proper regulations. Although tenative, a proposal of spacing signage 2500 feet apart on major roadways, no larger than 300 square feet, and no higher than 30 feet from the ground, erected by a single pole, has been discussed. A maximum of 75 square feet was proposed on secondary roads within the county. Dialogue of whether one- or dual-sided signs will be permitted has been broached, with digital signs prohibited. Bradshaw shared concern for residents who dwell at elevated heights, and the effect the blinking lights would have on the ambiance of their view. Additionally, landscaping of the area surrounding signs, as well as a requirement of general upkeep, may be adopted.

“I believe in personal property rights, but I believe in protecting the future of the county,” Bradshaw confirmed.

Further discussion to solidify the billboard ordinance is expected to take place between the commissioner, planning committee, and county attorney in the near future.

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