Local News

Cary Town Council Takes on Sign Debate

Posted July 22, 2007

— A debate over appearance is heading to the Cary Town Council.

Last July, town leaders ordered all pole signs to come down, because they were deemed unsightly.

Three businesses still have them displayed, including South Hills Mall. The owner wants to display a new sign that can change messages, but allowing it would mean changing a town standard.

Only three types of businesses in Cary are allowed to have changeable copy signs – movie theaters, schools and gas stations, because they display changing information that’s vital to their business.

South Hills Mall advertises specials and sales on its message board. Business owners say people are definitely getting the message.

“They’ll come in, [and] because I know my customers so well, I’ll ask, ‘How’d you know about us?’ and they’ll say, ‘Oh, I saw your sign,’” said Annmarie Rocheleau, owner of Carolina Sunglasses.

South Hills is asking the town council to amend the rules to allow its new sign, but town staffers are not endorsing it.

“We couldn’t write an ordinance just for this one sign to exist without opening the door for other business owners to have that,” said Ricky Barker, associate planning director.

The town council will vote on the amendment change for the South Hills sign at its meeting Thursday. South Hills’ property manager Bob Dascombe said he hopes the town will allow it.

“Through having meaningful dialogue, we hope they’ll see this is a unique circumstance and there’s a tasteful way to find a solution,” he said.

As for the other two pole signs still up in Cary, one business plans to take down its sign once it gets the special equipment needed to remove it. The other business hired a lawyer and might take the issue to court.

Businesses that don’t take down the pole signs face fines of $500 per day, but town officials said their main goal is to get the signs down, not collect money from fines. Officials said they are willing to work with businesses to make fines a last resort.


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  • PickAnotherID Jul 24, 2007

    As old as some of these pole signs are/were they should have been declared historic landmarks. That would trump Cary's stupid ordinance.

  • nowayebby Jul 24, 2007


    Guessing all the folks who read this story and decide to post here
    No, it is just fun to play with caryites

  • nowayebby Jul 24, 2007

    hockeyrules, I guess you are new enough to the area to not know that that whole area was at 1 time a land fill, You enjoiy living there, LOL

  • HockeyRules Jul 24, 2007

    "Does anyone enjoy living in Cary?? Can not imagine how, too many restrictions, shoulds like Cary was better off when it was a land fill."

    Love it! Great place. Landfill? LOL.

  • JerryO Jul 24, 2007

    Cary has become a town totally devoid of any character or identity. It's just a place.

  • nowayebby Jul 23, 2007

    Does anyone enjoy living in Cary?? Can not imagine how, too many restrictions, shoulds like Cary was better off when it was a land fill.

  • oldrebel Jul 23, 2007

    re:"I guess narcissism trumps sarcasm?" LOL....right on Sigil. Self deprecation is a quality not to be found on many of the "Cary aristocracy" but so what. Materialism is never the route to true happiness and eventually they'll wake up to that fact. They'll never admit it since their whole existance is tied up in an address. No quality, no enduring value, nothing but an address.

  • GoBucks Jul 23, 2007

    It was hard when we first moved to Cary to navigate through the town to find stores, physicians, etc. , however, the trade off is a well groomed, unclutered, sign free town. Cary takes PRIDE in it's appearence.

  • JerryO Jul 23, 2007

    Starlyte, your dad cut my hair many times. He was a cool guy and he is missed.

  • Michael Kenyon Jul 23, 2007

    "Starlyte" - sorry, I used the wrong name when I posted. I've lost enough now that I'm almost down to tweezers and a pair of scissors :*)