Sign rules under further review in Pa. municipalities

October 03, 2006|by KATE S. ALEXANDER

WAYNESBORO, Pa. - You don't have to go far in Waynesboro to learn the basics - who is running for office, that cold is the new hot, or even the price of cigarettes - because like many communities, the visual landscape of Waynesboro is peppered with signs.

While these signs can tell you where to go for free checking and more, local officials are working to limit how big, how close and how bright these signs can be.

The Waynesboro Borough Council and Washington Township Supervisors both are in the process of updating local sign ordinances to define the many aspects of signage which under current ordinances are either not addressed or vaguely addressed.

"The current ordinance is out of date," said Elena Kehoe of Waynesboro. Kehoe is working with Washington Township to draft its updated ordinance.


Washington Township has taken an A-Z approach to addressing signage, by drafting an inclusive proposed ordinance, which Randy Kuhn of the Washington Township Planning Commission says will cover "all possible signs."

Kuhn says the proposed ordinance is a 50-page detail of dos, don'ts and definitions.

"This will be simple with pictures," he said. "You find a picture of a sign like yours and the ordinance will tell you what to do."

Washington Township drafted the proposed ordinance following research into similar ordinances in Pennsylvania and other cities by a group of citizens.

"This is the most inclusive sign ordinance in the state of Pennsylvania," Kuhn said.

Washington Township manager Michael Christopher said that while the proposed ordinance will make "significant changes" to how signs are displayed, it will only apply to new signs.

The township decided to update the existing ordinance to "do away with sign pollution," as Kuhn said.

Kehoe, owner of a business along Pa. 16 in Waynesboro, said that limiting signage will, in the long run, benefit businesses.

"Market research shows that the more signs there are, the less people read," she said. Kehoe added that if limits are not soon placed on signs, the new end of Pa. 16 will look "horrible."

The Borough of Waynesboro is working to draft an ordinance that will deal specifically with blinking signs. Lloyd Hamberger, borough manager, said borough officials have made many changes to its sign ordinance over the last few months and the current change before the borough will take at least one more.

The ordinance, which was scheduled for a hearing Oct. 18, will be deferred for another month, he said.

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