City unveils draft sign ordinance

Jan. 27—HIGH POINT — City officials say they have updated and modernized High Point's sign regulations in a rewrite process that started nearly five years ago.

Development Administrator Chris Andrews presented the final draft of the revised sign ordinance to the Planning and Zoning Commission Tuesday, which unanimously recommended its adoption.

It is slated to go before the City Council Feb. 20 for final consideration.

Andrews said the goals of the revisions are to simplify and clarify the language regarding the rules for signs. The ordinance has been reorganized to make it more user-friendly, adding more tables, graphics and photos, he said.

Another objective was to ensure that city sign regulations conform with the state and U.S. constitutions and applicable state and federal laws, according to the city.

Sign permits are handled at the staff level and don't require approval by the commission or City Council. They're required for many, but not all, types of signage, such as those for shopping centers, convenience stores and fast-food restaurants, as well as electronic changeable copy and video signs used by various businesses.

Andrews said the bulk of the ordinance comprises the section on sign standards, which has been completely rewritten.

The revised regulations remove the limit on the number of attached signs allowed on a business and added language to cover painted wall signs, such as murals.

He said the ordinance does not regulate the content of signs, although it does spell out the types of signs that are prohibited.

These include roof signs, which Judy Stalder of the Triad Real Estate and Building Industry Coalition said the city should allow.

She told the commission that TREBIC is asking for this provision, and would also like the city to allow electronic changeable copy signs on the Eastchester Drive gateway corridor, which the new ordinance continues to ban.

Stalder said TREBIC was raising only a few concerns about the new ordinance.

"Rewriting a sign ordinance is a huge task," she said. "It's pretty amazing what (city) staff, along with your consultants, have done."

Andrews said the new ordinance includes a section on "limited duration signs," which would allow temporary banners, inflatable signs and pennants at a given location for up to 30 days, two times per year.

These could be used, for example, to promote a grand opening or seasonal sales.

Another new section lays out the types of signs that don't require a permit, such as flags, menu boards at drive-throughs and real estate and construction signs.