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Cary reviews sign policy with online survey

Posted January 5, 2010
Updated January 6, 2010

— The Town of Cary is seeking public opinion about its current sign regulations through an online survey this month.

The town created the Sign Ordinance Evaluation Task Force, a group of 18 citizens, business owners and town staff, in October to evaluate the current ordinance and give recommendations to the town council about how it can be improved.

Cary Senior Planner Debra Grannan said the goal of the task force is to balance the aesthetics of the town with business owners' needs, especially in a tough economy.

"There was a period of time when it seemed like all the signs in Cary were white or beige and the buildings were similar colors. That's really changed recently," Grannan said.

Cary reviews sign policy Cary reviews sign policy

In recent years, Grannan said, officials have relaxed the ordinance to allow more colors, size variations and information on signs. This included allowing businesses to put 12 pieces of information on a sign – instead of the previous eight pieces.

"We actually had one medical group that actually had to shorten their name in order to put their name on the building," said commercial developer Tom Huff, of Capital Associates.

“I think it is important that people need to find the businesses they go to, and we need to look at that, but also we need to look at trying to keep visual clutter down and being really sensitive to the environment,” said Cary resident Suzanne Davis.

Town officials said the review was initiated prior to and independent of a July 31 dispute over a residential sign.

William Bowden hired someone to paint a sign on his home after he claimed a road-widening project left his once-arboreal yard, at 305 SW Maynard Road, void of trees and with a steep slope that funnels rain water into his home.

The American Civil Liberties Union of North Carolina Legal Foundation took up the case after the town threatened fines. Town officials contend the message on his home violates size and color limits set by the town’s sign ordinance.

The ACLU filed suit in federal court in November, alleging the town’s sign ordinance violates Bowden’s right to free speech and to petition his government.

The suit asks the court to declare the town’s sign ordinance unconstitutional and to issue a temporary restraining order and an injunction against the town.

Cary officials have agreed to suspend any fines pending the outcome of the lawsuit.


This story is closed for comments.

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  • wnsbuckley Jan 6, 2010

    I tried to approach the Town of Cary about putting a sign up for a community none-profit like you see in every other town as you enter a town like: Lions club, Elks, Rotary etc. The head of the counsel laughed and said "Good luck. I am pround to say we have the hardest signage regulations in the country." They continued "No northerner is going to come in here and change things." I asked where she is from because she didn't have an accent to me. She said "Michigan." The issue with the guy writing on his house, I have no idea if that has anything to do with it or not. I think he went about it the wrong way. Although brought to light many issues. The sign issue and building color issue in Cary reminds me of when I lived on Cape Cod in MA.

  • nosuchmiracles Jan 6, 2010

    Cary1969: that makes NO sense what so ever. I guess you never go anywhere new then.

  • IzzMad2016 Jan 5, 2010

    uncwo5 -- I read your post and decided to do the same. Did not mention Mr. What's His Name a single time. I believe there is a way to add color and character to Cary without sign users running amok. (grin)

  • cary1969 Jan 5, 2010

    if you don't know where you are going, then you should stay home.

  • uncw05 Jan 5, 2010

    I filled in the survey completely disregarding the whole deal about this guy writing on his house to show his anger at Cary. I felt it was a chance to express, as one other commenter already has, how hard it is to find anything in Cary. I hated it from the day I moved there to the day I moved away. I still work there, and I'm sick to death of people driving by me in Regency Park asking if I know where a certain building is because the signs are all so small you can't read them if you are driving fast enough to not get run over.

  • IzzMad2016 Jan 5, 2010

    I hear what you're saying gadgetry, but we're educated grown ups who read the news and know what the man's intention is, not the kids who travel the road daily in a vehicle. I just think his sign is moot at this point because Town of Cary isn't giving in (which I do not think they should) and it's time for him to act like an adult and paint over it. Thousands travel that road every day and I daresay the vast majority are sick of seeing it. I've lived here 17 years and can tell you his yard was never "arborea" and has been declining into it's current state of dishevelment long before the road was widened. He's looking for a big payday that he doesn't deserve, in my humble opinion.

  • gadgetry Jan 5, 2010

    PetLovinCaryLivinBuckeyeFan, I googled "screwed" and selected the first option I found, which for me was "http://www.thefreedictionary.com

    Number 4 was "To take advantage of; cheat: screwed me out of the most lucrative sales territory."

    The vulgar slang version you think about was #5. The first 3 were about driving/attaching a screw, and contorting your face.

    To me, of all those, #4 seems to fit the definition the best and is not vulgar or offensive.

  • Stick to the Facts Jan 5, 2010

    "I wear protective clothing when I go to Cary. I try to keep cary germs out of Raleigh as best as possible. Don't want that stuff spreading."

    Two things for this person:
    #1 If its so bad in Cary, why do you come here?
    #2 Do us a favor and stay away...we dont want you here either.

  • R_U_breakdance fighting Jan 5, 2010

    Even if he had previous drainage problems, their construction only made matters worse to the point that the house is inhabitable and it's been doccumented.

    He shouldn't get anymore than what it was worth when the construction took place.

    Would his homeowners insurance be effected by this type of situation?

  • maisoui82 Jan 5, 2010

    This man is embarrassing himself and his family. He has created an eye sore with his negative message. I feel sorry for him. I’m sure his life is filled with much bitterness. I just wish I didn’t have to share in his pessimism every time I drive by.