From the speakers at the January 14th Planning Commission’s first look at public input, there are a number of people out there hoping to put up a digital sign as well as an increase in the size and effect of current signage. There are those concerned with light pollution as well as the effect on the beautiful Botetourt landscape. Commissioners included Sam Foster, Bill Hughes, Steve Kidd and John Griffin. Mac Scothorn serves as ex- officio from the Board of Supervisors.
In a time when the county coffers are bare, the prospect of doing business in Botetourt is needed now more than ever. Last Friday the county fathers on the board of supervisors explored just that in the first of two strategic planning meetings. One thing they are interested in is some revision to the sign ordinance to stimulate business growth.
But on Monday night Jan. 14, the planning commission held a regular meeting about the sign ordinace. Fincastle Baptist Church had two speakers, Jeff LeHare and Dave Spigle. A digital sign would be advantageous to the church and all non-profits they stated in running through the list of programs of benefit to the public as drivers come down Roanoke Road. Planner Steve Kidd pointed out that nearby, Attic Productions and The Church of Transfiguration might also desire digital signs. If so, that would put three in less than a half mile.
Chris McMurray a local businessman and surveyor noted that certain types of digital signs are better than others. Explosion scenes and other more techno features can be distracting and the timing of signs as well as the lights might require some thought. He suggested sub categories in sign ordinances.
Larry Ceola, a former supervisor and business owner on Cloverdale Road, thought a digital sign as well as bay banners might enhance the looks his business gets.
Bill Gaul of “Three Lil Pigs” was prone to ask for a sign that would list all of the business inhabitants around Botetourt Commons as often his sign on the Interstate leads potential customers on a hit and miss adventure to find his eatery.
Nicki Griffin of a mortgage company in Daleville asked if more leniency could be shown to temporary signage stating that her office has gained five clients in one month from the signs she has now been told not to use.
John Goss and Steve Hamblin advised caution in the pursuit of sign ordinance revamping due to the beauty of the area as well as light pollution.
Botetourt County Planner Wade Burkholder said he welcomes comments. He can be reached via email through WBurkholder@botetourt.org
County Administrator Kathleen Guzi recommended that open dialogue continue for the next few months during public input meetings and other avenues. She said it would be crucial in the formulation of what every policy changes come about. Next planning commission meeting is on Feb. 11.