Richmond Hill City Council members unanimously approved an ordinance change that will now allow billboards and interchangeable electronic signs to be placed along designated areas of Hwy. 17 and Hwy. 144.
Before this motion, they were only allowed along the interstate.
City manager Mike Melton said members of council proposed this as an answer to the requests they have received from sign companies to erect billboards in the city. This includes an alleged threat from Georgia Outdoor Advertising to sue the city if they did not allow billboards.
Billboards are now allowed along Hwy. 144 from Thunderbird Drive to Fort Stewart and on Hwy. 17 from Harris Trail to Ponderosa Road, while electronic signs only are allowed in the Hwy. 17-144 intersection corridors.
All of the designated areas are in C-4, or interstate commercial, zoned areas.
A public hearing was held on the issue earlier this month.
Four individuals, all employees of sign companies, signed up to speak. Each commended the city for the proposed ordinance change.
Melton said Georgia Outdoor seems to be content with the ordinance change and have already applied for a billboard to be erected near I-95 and Hwy. 144.
"We’ve been contacted by numerous retailers interested in this coverage area," said Greg Phillips with Georgia Outdoor Advertising. "We’re hoping to secure some spots around the city to put up signs now. The city was very cordial in dealing with us and did a very professional job with this ordinance change."
To see detailed maps of where the billboards and signs can now be placed in accordance with this proposed ordinance change, go to www.bryancountynews.net.
In other business:
- Richmond Hill Fire Chief Vernon Rushing gave an update on the possible local effects of Tropical Storm Fay. As of Tuesday, he said some heavy rain is on its way. He said this could cause some flooding in addition to downed trees and downed power lines.- Public Works supervisor David Buchanan said the city has done all it can to prepare itself for harsh storm conditions.
- Richmond Hill Police Chief Billy Reynolds said there were 24 DUI arrests in the city this past month. He also reported that three out of four motorcycles have been added to patrol, with the final one to arrive soon.
- Richmond Hill Planning and Zoning Director Steve Scholar said 44 out of 63 property nuisance violations were in Piercefield Forest subdivision.
- Council approved a resolution nominating Melton to the Coastal Georgia Regional Water Planning Council.