Local News

Cary council agrees to review sign ordinance

Posted July 23, 2009 6:44 p.m. EDT
Updated July 24, 2009 8:05 a.m. EDT

— Cary's town council voted Thursday night to undertake a comprehensive review of its sign ordinance. The move came after some business owners asked the town to relax it rules regarding signs.

More public meetings and hearings on the subject are expected.

The town regulates the color, font, size and number of signs for businesses. There are also regulations about where they can be placed.

“That’s one of the things that makes Cary the beautiful community that it is,” Councilman Don Frantz said.

Some business owners say the sign rules make it tough to advertise in a down economy. Retail real estate agent Stan Lisle said it's even discouraging some new business from opening in the area.

Lisle said he has a client who has decided not to relocate to Cary because “they can’t use their trademarks.”

Officials last overhauled the sign ordinance 10 years ago. Some council members said they think it may be time again.

“Given the recession, there may be a little bit we can do to be a little more flexible and help our business community,” Frantz said.

Officials told WRAL News that they are open to considering changes in open house signs and allowing other businesses to have more signs.

Right now, Cary allows two open houses per house, per year. Also, real estate agents and homeowners can put up no more than three directional signs to point prospective buyers to an open house.

Some real estate agents want to see those caps lifted.

Real estate agent Kelly Cobb said it may take “multiple open houses” to sell a property. “You want to have the opportunity for as much exposure as possible,” she said.

Others would like more freedom for temporary signs.

Fines for signs the violate Cary's ordinance can amount to hundreds of dollars.

“I think loosening those rules would help a lot of merchants,” Lisle said.

Town planners hope to form a task force made up of business owners, sign companies and citizens to come up with ways to make the sign ordinance more flexible.

“If we feel we can do better, we’re more than happy to try,” Frantz said.