LELAND — Less than one month after the removal of the Hardee’s sign located on Village Road in Leland due to its height, the town’s Planning Board is considering making a change to the town’s sign code. The change would allow taller signs for some businesses, but only if specific circumstances are met.
The proposed text amendment is being requested by Twin Rivers Capital LLC, the developer behind the proposed 63-acre shopping center known as Leland Town Center.
Currently, the town’s sign ordinance is somewhat restrictive, only allowing individual businesses to place signs that have a maximum height of 8-feet and a total area of 32-square-feet.
Combined developments such as Leland Town Center are permitted at 28-foot sign with a maximum 210-square-feet in size.
The sign must include the development’s name, as well as those of the tenants in the development. The proposed amendment would allow signs to reach a maximum of 35-feet in height, and be 265-square-feet in size.
Economic and Community Development Director Gary Vidmar said, “Staff worked with Twin Rivers to arrive at a maximum height and maximum sign area that staff believes is a reasonable request … Our logic is that, on large developments of this size, there are multiple layers of developable lots.”
A visibility issue
For developments that have multiple layers of store fronts within them, there are often businesses with no roadside access, and visibility issues become a problem.
“There is a row of outlets along Highway 17 with street visibility and additional layers of lots behind this first layer of lots that do not have frontage nor street visibility which puts them at a disadvantage,” Vidmar said. “In order for businesses on the interior lots to advertise, staff concurs with the applicant that the businesses on the interior lots should have the ability to have signage on Highway 17 in the form of a combined development sign.”
Twin Rivers is requesting the town add a new subsection allowing taller signs with a larger area for the sign face.
But if approved, the rules would not apply to everyone. The proposed changes would apply only to specific developments
Vidmar clarified that Leland Town Center would not be the only development located within the U.S. 17 Overlay District to which the ordinance would apply.
Visibility issues facing local businesses are something the town is working on addressing, and neighboring town Belville have their own ordinances, different than Leland’s.
“As an example of visibility issues faced by some existing businesses along Highway 17 and measures they use to overcome these challenges, you may notice that some of the business on the opposite side of the road that are located in Belville, such as Verizon, the Asian Sushi restaurant, Tropical Smoothie, and others, often install feather flag signs along the road to supplement their wall signs and ground signs. These signs are altogether prohibited in Leland,” Vidmar said.
The proposed amendment
Combined development ground signs located immediately adjacent to the right-of-way of Highway 17. Combined development signs located on property immediately adjacent to Highway 17 shall be permitted subject to the following conditions:
- Such signs shall be no taller than 35-feet in height and the maximum allowable sign area shall be 265-square-feet to include the combined development’s name.
- Such signs shall only be permitted in combined developments that are 60-acres or more in size
- The sign shall be located on a parcel that is immediately adjacent to the right-of-way of Highway 17.
- Secondary ground signs as permitted by this Article shall be no taller than 14 feet in height and the maximum allowable sign area shall be 105 square feet to include the combined development’s name. Maximum height of second sign includes a maximum base of two feet.
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