The Bryan County Commissioners had plenty of sign issues to resolve at their meeting Tuesday and not everyone was happy with the way the voting went.
Commissioners had to address the size limitations at the Stop N’ Stor Mini-Warehouse on Highway 144 and what future signs would look like on the county’s main thoroughfares.
The developers of the warehouse proposed a Highway 144 sign that would be 12 feet high.
County Planning Director Eric Greenway said the character of the area should limit the sign to eight feet in height.
Attorney Andrew Johnson said his client, Allen Dasher, had fulfilled all the requirements of the zoning ordinance and called the planning director’s recommendation to change the height from 12 to eight feet an example of "unfettered discretion."
Not so, said Greenway.
The real problem, the planning director said, was when the planned unit development, or PUD, was approved in 2008, the sign limitations of commercial areas were not adequately addressed, leaving him and his staff little guidance to sort out the details.
Johnson said neither the zoning ordinance nor PUD documentation adequately spelled out the parameters of the sign sizes.
The commissioners had a lengthy discussion weighing the pros and cons of a 12-foot versus eight-foot sign height with Commissioner Noah Covington essentially saying a 12-foot sign was not excessive and he could support such a request.
Other issues discussed with regard to the storage facility included buffers, back lit versus other lighting methods and numbers of signs.
Covington found himself in the minority when he said he could support the sign package as requested at 12 feet rather than eight feet. Covington and Wade Price voted to keep the sign height at 12 feet with commissioners Rick Gardner and Steve Myers voting to lower the sign height to eight feet. Commissioner Brad Brookshire recused himself so with the tie at 2-2, Chairman Carter Infinger was called on to vote. He voted in favor of lowering the sign height to eight feet.
Clearly unhappy, the developer, Dasher, did agree to eliminate one building sign and said he would consider increasing the amount of buffer material.
The commissioners also approved an amendment to the zoning ordinance that will require all owners of property zoned R-1 that has no permanent structure on site to acquire commission approval before putting an accessory structure on the property. R-1 property owners with a permanent structure on site will not be required to get commission approval before erecting the accessory structure.
Greenway said this approval was necessary because of complaints arising from a recent incident where an accessory structure was permitted by his office on unimproved R-1 property and complaints had been received from a neighbor.
The commission also approved a major road overlay that will address sign size limits, buffers and parking lots, etc. on major roads in Bryan County. That, said Greenway, will go a long way toward consistency in the looks of the advertising on major county roads.
Other county action included:
• Appointing Donna Waters as open records officer for the county, except the constitutional offices.
• Appointing Wendy Sims as the county’s 2017 summer lunch coordinator.