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New Rockdale sign ordinance on tap

CONYERS -- It's been a long road, but the Rockdale Board of Commissioners is poised to adopt a new county-wide sign ordinance next week.

Rockdale County has been working on revising its sign ordinance for several months in order to make it more compatible with the city of Conyers' sign ordinance, which was adopted in 2011.

According to Marshall Walker, director of Rockdale County Planning and Zoning, the county's proposed ordinance is nearly identical to the city's sign ordinance with some minor exceptions, such as the size of free-standing signs for businesses that front Interstate 20.

The major difference between the county's current sign ordinance and the proposed one, he said, is that now signage is regulated by zoning districts. In other words, property zoned C-1 commercial permits certain signs, whereas property in a manufacturing district allows other kinds of signs.

"Under the proposed ordinance, like the city's, it would be based on a general use: residential or not residential," Walker said in a previous interview.

The proposed sign ordinance also allows for some administrative variances to the sign regulations; the current ordinance does not allow for any, he said.

The Planning and Zoning Commission recommended approval of the sign ordinance in February and the Board of Commissioners then held a public hearing on the proposed ordinance.

Due to the complexity of the new ordinance, Commissioners JaNice Van Ness and Oz Nesbitt asked to hold a town hall meeting for the public to weigh in on the ordinance before they held the first reading on the ordinance.

The town hall meeting was held in April and the Planning Commission and the BOC held hearings in June.

The second reading and adoption of the new sign ordinance were scheduled to be held during a called BOC meeting on July 10. However, Walker recommended that the second reading be deferred until the next public meeting, on July 24, because a few details still needed to be finalized.

Van Ness said at that meeting that she was satisfied with the new ordinance but wanted to make just a few changes to some of the regulations governing banners and semi-transparent window signs.

During Tuesday's work session, Catherine Mercier-Baggett, a planner in the Planning and Zoning Department, explained that the new ordinance would be similar to the city of Conyers' sign ordinance and would allow commercial window signs to cover up to 30 percent of the window.

"Regardless of the level of transparency, it is still a sign," she said.

Mercier-Baggett pointed out this requirement would be applied throughout the county, including along the Salem Road corridor, which generally has more stringent zoning requirements.

Editor Alice Queen contributed to this article.

Comments

Elmo 2 years, 2 months ago

Will Tax-paying businesses be able to post signs (other than facia signs) or will the powers that be still impose D.C.'s war on small businesses by forbidding them?

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Innocent_Bystander 2 years, 2 months ago

There is a big picture here that you need to think about. Many of the regulations that you may disagree with...such as signage...is a measure to PREVENT the fiasco in other county, municipalities, parish and states. If the local county and cities did NOT have a portion of a sign ordinance in place already, instead of the Live Sign Jugglers advertsing phones, pawn shops, gold merchants, etc. on many of the corners, yiou'd have fixed signs with a variety of lighting, colors and square footage.

Rather than a war on small business, it's a pre-emptive attempt to keep the new business owners from turning Conyers/Rockdale into a spectacle as you'd find in uncontrolled areas that haven't adopted a sign ordinance yet.

http://www.rockdalecitizen.com/users/photos/2012/jul/19/48945/

http://www.rockdalecitizen.com/users/photos/2012/jul/19/48946/

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