No change in CF sign law yet

Business owners in Chadds Ford Township likely shouldn't expect any change in the township sign ordinance anytime soon. The Planning Commission Wednesday night voted against recommending what commission Chairman Craig Huffman referred to as a "piecemeal change" in the temporary sign ordinance.

The vote came after a meandering discussion regarding a proposed change. That discussion included a brief history of the temporary sign provision made eight years ago and a longer back and forth on what types of signs should be regarded as needing a permit and which ones don't.

Supervisors in 2009 enacted a provision that allowed retailers and restaurateurs to put small, portable signs outside of their businesses. Those signs were restricted to size, and they could only be displayed during business hours.

But using the signs came with a $150 permitting fee and supervisors had to renew the resolution authorizing the signs annually. In January of 2016, Supervisors' Chairman Frank Murphy said he didn't want that coming up every year, and a move was made to amend township code.

During the April 12 Planning Commission meeting, Huffman said the piecemeal approach was insufficient and that the wording of the proposed changes was confusing.

Some of the specifics at issue are the size of signs and how the ordinance change distinguishes between retail and real estate signs. Location of the businesses was also an issue.

"What works along Route 202 won't work in other parts of the township," Huffman said.

Commission members want the ordinance to be clearer in how it addresses smaller real estate direction signs for open houses versus larger signs advertising commercial property for lease.

Additionally, Huffman said he thinks there should be consideration of putting a time limit on some of those real estate signs. He specifically referred to "For Sale" signs, saying that a home could be on the market for years and rhetorically asked how long the sign could be up before it should be considered a permanent sign rather than a temporary sign. He asked the same question regarding "Sold" signs on a house that was sold.

The commission voted 5-0 not to recommend accepting the current proposal. Supervisors will take the commission's action into consideration before making their decision on what to do next.

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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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