90-day sign permit moratorium takes effect

Towns County Courthouse

HIAWASSEE, Ga. – At a regularly scheduled July meeting, Towns County Planning Committee unanimously recommended review of the current sign ordinance. According to county officials, applications and the issuance of permits for off-site advertising signage and billboards has increased multi-fold in the past several months.

The Planning Commission presented the recommendation to Towns County Sole Commissioner Cliff Bradshaw, who in turn imposed a 90-day moratorium on the acceptance of applications for off-site signage and billboard advertising. The resolution reads that Georgia law provides that a moratorium is justified when the interest of the public requires such interference, and the time and manner of the restiction is not unduly oppressive. Further, the moratorium is required to maintain the status quo for a period necessary to review and potentially implement remedial measures to serve the public interest.

The resolution states that the unchecked proliferation of signs and billboards have the potential to permanently alter the natural beauty, landscape, and economic viability of Towns County.

Commissioner Bradshaw says the existing sign ordinance will be reviewed and “strengthened” during the 90-day period. During the moratorium, the commissioner plans to consult with the county attorney and planning commission staff to consider and enact a coherent policy to allow outdoor advertising in a manner consistent with the interest of the county and its citizens.

The moratorium went into effect on July 17, 2018, and will remain active until October 16, 2018. It does not affect permits issued prior to July 17.

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