Revised sign ordinance includes residents’ wishes

By Dawn De Busk

Staff Writer

NAPLES — In most respects, the contents of the proposed sign ordinance include what residents have requested.

That’s because the Ordinance Review Committee has taken into account public comments and the town’s comp plan.

The technology of digital signs has evolved. Currently, with the exception of the fire station’s LED-lighted sign, the other digital signs that are up and running are in the commercial district.

Where will digital signs be acceptable and allowable?

“That is what the town is struggling with. We hear people say, ‘We want to preserve the antique feel in the Village District,’” according to Naples Code Enforcement Officer (CEO) Renee Carter.

“They want the town to have that New England feel,” she said, adding the goal of the proposed sign ordinance is to maintain that New England appearance throughout different districts of town.

People have not made complaints to the CEO about the digital signs located along Route 302. That is the commercial district.

The Village District is Route 35 to the Naples Fire and Rescue Department and also part of Route 114 and Lakehouse Road.

“As you get closer to the Village and the Causeway” that is where people would like limits on digital signs.

“People are saying they don’t want illumination across the water,” Carter said.

Since the sign ordinance was seen and discussed during a joint meeting of the ORC, the Naples Board of Selectmen and the Naples Planning Board, the ORC has met three more times, Carter said.

The proposed sign ordinance should be finalized and edited in the next few months, she said.

“We hope to have it wrapped up by January,” she said.

Most likely, it will be a warrant article at the annual town meeting. Definitely, there will be public hearing prior to that. Plus, there is another joint meeting on the horizon.

The ORC members “are still talking about sizes and how much lighting we want,” Carter said.

“The goal is not to splash the sky with colored lights,” she said.

Regarding signs for multiple businesses like in the case of the newly-built Lakes Plaza, 64 feet is the allowable size of the sign. Single businesses are each allowed a 32-foot sign.

“Kevin Gagnon owns Lakes Plaza. He has been working with us. So that it meets the standards of today and the future. He doesn’t want to put the money in there” and not be abiding by the sign ordinance.

“He has been working with the Ordinance Review Committee — a lot of people have,” she said.

“In the Commercial District, if you have multiple businesses, the sign can be 64 square feet. The multiple businesses have to be seen so it’s 64 square feet for all of them. Then, they are allowed to have a 32 square foot sign per business — on the building. For a single business, 32 square feet” is the limit on sign size, she said.

“Everyone seems to like 32 square feet,” she said.

“We listened to what everyone had to say,” she said.

The other objective was to make the sign ordinance readable and easy for the public to understand. The new ordinance should not bring up questions.

“One of the questions from the old ordinance was how tall can the support be” for the sign, she said.

“The other thing the committee has heard is complaints about the flags and banners. Ever since flags have become the newest way to capture people attention, it is hitting all the towns,” Carter said.

“We have to address banners and flags,” she said.

She added that if the flags are in the State’s rights-of-way, that space is governed by the state transportation department. “The town doesn’t regulate that,” she said.

“The public hearing will come after our joint meeting. We want to make sure everyone is okay with it. Everyone has done their due diligence with it,” she said.

“It will be ready for the June Town Meeting,” she said.

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