Sandwich board sign rules pass first vote by Beaufort City Council

emoody@beaufortgazette.comOctober 22, 2013 

  • In other business, council:

  • Approved two-hour free holiday parking for all paid spaces in downtown Beaufort from Nov. 29 through Jan. 1.

  • Met in a closed-door session to discuss a land swap with the Baptist Church of Beaufort. Council emerged from that session and approved the swap on first reading. A second reading is needed but a date for it has not been announced.

  • Granted final approval to a budget change to buy land for an neighborhood entrance to Pigeon Point Park.

  • Received an update from public works director Isiah Smalls on grant money and plans for the day dock project at the Beaufort Downtown Marina. Smalls said staff has gotten the S.C. Department of Natural Resources to increase available grant money from $27,000 to $111,279. Matching federal grants will triple that amount, he said.

  • Received updates from the Beaufort-Port Royal Metropolitan Planning Commission and the city's Redevelopment Commission.

  • Received an update from the Beaufort Regional Chamber of Commerce's Military Enhancement Committee.

  • Approved requests from Main Street Beaufort, USA, related to A Night on the Town on Dec. 6; Light Up the Night Board Parade on Dec. 7; the Downtown Beaufort Christmas Parade on Dec. 8; and from Meadowbrook Baptist Church for use of the Beaufort Downtown Marina boat ramp for a river baptism on Sunday.
  • Civic Master Plan meeting set Thursday

    A special joint work session to discuss Beaufort's proposed Civic Master Plan will be at 4 p.m. Thursday in the Planning Conference Room of City Hall, 1911 Boundary St.

    Participants will include the Beaufort-Port Royal Metropolitan Planning Commission, city Redevelopment Commission, Historic Beaufort Foundation and city staff.

    The document is available on the city's website, www.cityofbeaufort.org

  • A list of rules for sidewalk sandwich boards in Beaufort's downtown historic district is shaping up, but not everyone is happy about the proposals.
  • City Council granted initial approval to the rules during a meeting Tuesday night, but a second vote is needed. That could come in November.

    Sandwich boards are currently not allowed in the downtown area, except those which were in place before 2004, when rules changed to ban the signs. New businesses are allowed to display the boards during their first six months of operation.

    The intent, city staff has said, is to create clear-cut rules for merchants so the influx of signs that have cropped up recently meet standards.

    Charles Aimar of Rossignol's continues to worry the restrictions, which now specifically include pedestal signs like the ones outside his store, will hurt businesses.

    "The reason you have these portable signs is to catch people who don't look in the windows," he said. "And the reason we're on Bay Street, paying these rents, is to get people inside buying things and so we can pay the bills."

    The most recently proposed rules continue to require businesses to apply for a permit to display a sign, but charge no permit fee. Businesses with multiple entrances on different streets or on a street and fronting Henry C. Chamber Waterfront Park may have a sign at each of those entrances.

    Signs must be made of materials allowed in the historic district -- which does not include plastic -- and cannot be lit or have things stapled, taped or otherwise added.

    They can only be displayed when the business is open.

    Easel and pedestal signs, which have one or two legs, can be no taller than six feet and the sign itself can be no bigger than 3.5 square feet. Sidewalk sandwich boards can be 3.5 feet tall and no bigger than six square feet.

    Follow reporter Erin Moody at twitter.com/IPBG_Erin.

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