Businesses get six months for signage

Following up on comments made in January, Chadds Ford Township supervisors voted 3-0 in February to extend a temporary sign provision for six months.

The extension allows shopkeepers to display extra signage — small A-frame signs no more than 10 square feet per face — during business hours only. A permit for the signs costs $150 for six months. Previously, business owners could have the signs for a full year for the same $150 fee.

When the temporary sign provision was written in 2009, not only did the permits need to be renewed annually, but the supervisors also needed to reauthorize the provision annually.

Supervisors’ Chairman Frank Murphy said during the Jan. 5 meeting that he was tired of seeing the issue come up every year. During the Jan. 27 workshop, he said some residents view the signs as “eyesores” and want them removed permanently. But he added that he wants to strike a balance between the residents’ concerns and the needs of the business owners.

“We want to provide certainty for the business owners, safety for residents, and to make sure we have an attractive township,” he said at the time.

Murphy reiterated that sentiment after the Feb. 3 meeting. He added, however, that he doesn’t know what will happen after the current six-month extension expires.

“We’ll either extend it again or come up with something more permanent,” he said, adding that if the board does away with the provision altogether, the board would have to look at ways of fining business owners who continue using the signs.

Thom McGurn, owner of Chadds Ford Hypnosis, was in the audience and told Murphy he was disappointed with the six-month extension, saying he’d like to see it for a full year.

In a move they hope will help resolve such matters, the supervisors voted to create a new committee, the Ordinance Committee. Supervisors’ Vice Chairman Samantha Reiner called for the committee’s creation, but the board is uncertain how the committee would be manned or how it would function.

Reiner said she sees the committee as a permanent body of five members, including a supervisor, a Planning Commission member, someone from the Zoning Task Force, a member of the community, and maybe a professional or some other person who can provide expertise on the specific issue at hand.

Murphy, who agrees in concept with the idea, said that description was confusing and questioned whether it should be an ad hoc committee formed for whatever ordinance was being considered.

He also said there could be duplication of efforts since the Zoning Task Force is looking at the zoning code, and the Planning Commission already reviews proposed ordinances.

Supervisor Noelle Barbone asked whether the Strategic Advisory Committee could do the job, but Reiner responded with a “no.”

Solicitor Michael Maddren suggested a standing committee for the sake of continuity, but said it should include advisors who have professional knowledge of the issue being considered.

Murphy finally suggested creating the committee, but deciding later how it should be manned.

“That gives us a chance to think about it and staff it next month,” he said.

Other business

• The board made several appointments during the meeting. Ann Marie Murphy was reappointed as liaison to the Rachel Kohl Library, Patrick McKenna was named Planning Commission solicitor, Tim Sullivan was appointed as Zoning Task Force solicitor, and Patrick Sullivan was reappointed to the Finance Committee.

Supervisors tabled an appointment for an alternate solicitor and appointments to the Sewer Authority and Historical and Architectural Review Board. According to Barbone, a real estate broker needs to serve on the HARB.

• Supervisors held a moment of silence at the beginning of the meeting in honor of former Supervisor Keith Klaver, who died last week.

About Rich Schwartzman

Rich Schwartzman has been reporting on events in the greater Chadds Ford area since September 2001 when he became the founding editor of The Chadds Ford Post. In April 2009 he became managing editor of ChaddsFordLive. He is also an award-winning photographer.

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One Response to “Businesses get six months for signage”

  1. Molson says:

    I was the first business to apply for the little temporary
    sign in May of 2009 in Chadds Ford. Was it easy? No I had to
    jump through hoops. That was the year I moved to my present
    location. The rent doubled but I was visible to passing cars
    on RT 202. Little did I know the economy was in a nose dive.
    Because of the little sign and a phone call from a refiner who
    instructed me on how to make money BUYING gold my business survived. Survived that is not thrived!

    I pretty much followed the rules, except sometimes in a blizzard or heavy rain I left it out overnight. Other people
    in Olde Ridge Village started to put signs out. I am not responsible for them following the rules but I do know that if
    someone sent them the 8 point letter that I got and a phone
    call reminding them of the rules, then they would follow the
    rules. One rule says: only one sign in front of Olde Ridge Village I firmly believe two signs would be esthetic and bearable enough.
    I only know what I’ve read about the burden of going over the sign once a year by a Mr. Murphy and to him I would say Let’s just put our nose to the grindstone . Let’s not bother five more people in a committee to go over this complicated matter!
    My suggestion would be leave it alone. If you want to double the sign TAX, give half of it to either Bids for Kids or
    Urban Promise in Wilmington then I won’t mind paying it. As for
    the person who calls the little signs an eyesore, JUST BLINK!

    Dan Doubet
    Dan Doubet Jewelers

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