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Ordinance changes go before city council April 9

By Carolyn Ten Broeck, Editor

What started more than 18 months ago could finally see resolution April 9 when Williston City Council has the second reading of an amended sign ordinance.

Adam Hall, the city’s planner, said what got the ball rolling was a request from a businessman to have a sign that projected five feet from the building–something that did not comply with the ordinance.

And rather than make an allowance for one business, it was decided then that perhaps the ordinance needed to be changed for all.

Hall, two local sign makers, the building official and someone from the CRA meet often to decide what changes to recommend to the council.

What they learned, he said, was there had been a lot of uneven enforcement through the years.

After a year of year, 83 changes were made to the ordinance with six of those labeled “major”.

Changes that business people and residents can expect in the new ordinance will affect temporary signs, construction materials for permanent signs, the useful life of signs, temporary sign permitting and a clarification that will allow illegal signs to be removed at a cost to the property owner.

“We want to help the downtown area be more visible from the highways,” Hall said, adding most of the changes are not only about aesthetics but functionality too.

One of the most intricate aspects of the sign ordinance is on temporary signs. The new law calls for them to be anchored, and eventually the city will utilize a tagging system to determine how many signs someone can use and how long they can be in place before they must removed.

The April 9 meeting begins at 7 p.m. and will include the investiture of city council members Jack Screws, Cal Byrd and Elihu Ross.