Planning Board Wrestles With Balance Between Business, Town's Character, on Sign Bylaw
Special meeting scheduled for additional analysis
One of the first orders of business the Westford Planning Board took up at their meeting on Tuesday night was the continued discussion of the proposed sign regulations amendment.
As they did at their February 4th meeting, the Board wrestled with how to fairly amend the bylaws so as not to hurt businesses, especially along the Route 110 corridor, with maintaining the desired character that has come to define Westford.
The struggle is how to “balance marketing requirements with visibility and safety”, said Board member Mike Green.
When the Board opened the discussion to the public, resident Paul Fassbender of 14 Texas Road echoed the opinion that the bylaws should be written in such a manner as to uphold the “character of the community” desired by Westford.
Board members also discussed the merits of various types of signs.
Under the proposed ordinance, window signs will not be allowed while existing stand-alone signs will be subjected to “grandfather” status.
One of the key components of the proposed amendment will be to take signs out of the Special Permit Approval process. Currently, all proposed sign permits must approved by either the Planning Board or the Board of Selectmen.
The town can use the proposed specific design criteria to streamline the sign approval process via an administrative route. The Planning Board and Board of Selectmen would also be able to focus on cases and issues of a much more pressing manner to the town instead of focusing additional time and energies on sign approvals.
According to Angus Jennings, the former Director of Land Use Management who filled in for Town Planner Chris Kluchman, Westford is now in possession of business mailings for all 680 businesses in town.
Upon approval of the revised sign regulations, this will allow the town the ability to notify all businesses as to what is and isn’t allowed regarding sign design and placement.
The Board voted to continue the matter to the March 4 Planning Board meeting. Chairman Kevin Borselli also reminded the audience of the Sign Bylaw revision workshop to be held On February 27, 2013 at 7:00 PM in the Police Training Facility at the Police Department.
For more information about the proposed sign bylaws, see the town's website.