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Cary, Billboard Company at Odds Over Sign Ordinance

Posted November 15, 2007

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— A Triangle town known for its tight restrictions on appearance is in the middle of a dispute about what the town calls pole signs.

Cary's planning department says two billboards – one for South Hills Mall and the other belonging to Fairway Outdoor Advertising and east of the intersection of East Chatham Street and Maynard Road  – do not conform to the town's sign ordinance.

The ordinance, adopted by Town Council in 2003, does not allow signs to sit on freestanding poles or other support structures. Sign owners had until July 1, 2006, to come into compliance.

Cary's ordinance also requires that a sign be on the same property as the business it is promoting.

That poses problems for Fairway, according to general manager Paul Hickman. He says the company is willing to lower the sign to ground-level, but does not plan to remove the sign from its location.

"Our sign is our business, so there's a clear distinction," he said.

Town Planning Director Jeff Ulma disagrees, citing several hundred pages of city ordinances.

"The sign ordinance is as big today as the entire zoning ordinance for the town was when the town first adopted zoning in the '60s," he said.

Hickman has appealed to the town's zoning board to be able to keep the sign in its location. The board will consider the appeal next month.

"The sign's been there more than 50 years, nestled in the woods, doing a great job supporting local businesses and helping the community out for decades," Hickman said. "And now, all of a sudden, we need to take our business down?"

Both Fairway and South Hills Mall have been fined up to $500 for each day the signs remain in violation of the town ordinance. For South Hills, that is about $83,000. Fairway owes $51,350 as of Sept. 10, when it filed its appeal. The fines have stopped until the appeal is heard.

Ulma says the city will take both companies to court if it comes to that.

115 Comments

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  • OpinionOnEverything Nov 16, 2007

    Just make the artwork and lettering on the billboard different shades of beige. That should satisfy the Cary appearance police.

  • tulips4445 Nov 16, 2007

    just be thankful you don't live in a town like Four Oaks where store owners are allowed to paint tacky murals on the sides of building.

  • ncguy Nov 16, 2007

    Wral, Please close this thred.

  • C_Felix Nov 16, 2007

    Cary=Concentrated Area of Redneck Yokels

  • oldrebel Nov 16, 2007

    Main entry: Cary
    Pronunciation: \ka-rē, ker-ē\
    Function: geographical name
    city E central North Carolina population 94,536
    synonymous with Stepford (i.e. Stepford Wives movie, circa 1975)

  • Mmaker52 Nov 16, 2007

    This is plain stupid!!!! I understand Cary not wanting to look like Fayetteville, but this is crazy!!!!

    HEY HEY HEY!!!!!!!!!!! Be nice

  • Mmaker52 Nov 16, 2007

    Before moving here, I had the misconception that the people in the south were hospitable, kind folks who live a good christian life....boy was I wrong!!!

    Hey get out of Cary and you many find them!!!! LOL

  • Michael Kenyon Nov 16, 2007

    "I hated it when I first got stationed here, SOUTHERNERS were racists, rude and ignorant! But now that I've come to really know them, they are just as friendly as everyone else I know. DONT JUDGE PEOPLE BECAUSE OF WHERE THEY COME FROM"

    Maybe we got friendlier when you changed YOUR attitude.

  • dw172 Nov 16, 2007

    Cary-Ease up and get a life!! CARY -Crooked And Really Yellow.

  • Mmaker52 Nov 16, 2007

    I want to blame the water.

    WHAT WATER!! DROUGHT REMEMBER? lol

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