September 20, 2012
UPDATE: Dare County will continue to seek voluntary
compliance with sign ordinance
By IRENE NOLAN
number of Hatteras Island businesses with illegal signs has been
significantly reduced by Dare County’s push this year to enforce its
to Donna Creef, county planning director, the number of businesses with
illegal temporary signs in unincorporated Dare, such as sandwich boards
or magnetic letter boards, is down to about 20, most of them on
businesses have been receiving letters from the planning department
since February, reminding them of the sign ordinance, and the
department has done several surveys and followed up with letters to
those who still have illegal signs.
last round of letters went out in late August, threatening the
businesses with legal action if their illegal signs were not gone by
The planning department did another survey last week, which found that only 20 still had not removed the illegal signs.
said she has already corresponded or talked with owners of several of
those businesses who have plans to incorporate their temporary signs
into the permanent signage that is allowed under the ordinance.
Creef added that she is encouraged with the voluntary compliance thus far.
“We are very, very pleased with the way the highway looks,” she said this week.
she said she is not going to send the names of any businesses to the
county attorney for legal action at this time, but will instead work
individually with the owners to help them come into compliance.
emphasizes that the county does intend to enforce the ordinance and
stiff fines could be in the future for businesses who do not eventually
She also said the county is appreciative of all the businesses that have complied.
The county’s new emphasis on enforcing the ordinance after many years of doing nothing has angered many business owners.
the removal of the sandwich board signs may seem minor to you, the
county attorney, and the planning staff, these signs draw customers off
the road and into our shops,” Tony McGowan, owner of the Beacon Shops
in Hatteras village, wrote to Warren Judge, chairman of the county’s
Board of Commissioners. “They do it so effectively that their removal
will threaten the viability of some businesses.”
is urging the county to reconsider the ordinance, which has been on the
books since 1975 and was most recently updated in 2003.
you have waited 10 years to implement a now out-dated ordinance,”
McGowan wrote, “surely you can stall its enforcement while it is being
revised and updated to match the environment and community in today’s
reality. I understand it is a lot of work to redo this ordinance, but
it is the right thing to do.”
Creef said that she really wants to work with businesses to help them
come into compliance with the ordinance and still have the signage they
think they need. She urged business owners to contact her at
252-475-5873 or e-mail her at [email protected]
FOR MORE INFORMATION
For more information go to:
Dare County sign ordinance at http://www.darenc.com/planning/Chapter158.pdf
An editor’s blog from earlier this month about the current crackdown on the sign ordinance:http://islandfreepress.org/PivotBlog/?e=205#body-anchor