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Sign of the times: Derry to review sign regulations

DERRY — After some discussion on the size of commercial real estate signs the town should allow and the definition of temporary signs, the Planning Board is ready to hold another public hearing on the town’s sign regulations.

Last month, the Town Council reviewed the updated regulations, which the Planning Board has been working on for the past several months in an effort to have all the sign regulations easily accessible in one section of the town’s zoning ordinance.

“The sign ordinance went to the Town Council about a month ago and got very positive support,” said Planning Director George Sioras. However, the council and the town’s attorney did have several suggestions for revisions before taking a final vote on approval of the regulations.

During the Town Council hearing on the sign regulations, some local Realtors expressed concerns about the size of real estate for-sale signs for commercial and retail properties, according to code enforcement director Robert Mackey.

“We did address the real estate signs and put them in a section of their own,” said Mackey. “We are allowing a limit of four square feet in a residential area and 32 square feet in nonresidential districts.”

The regulations also require that the signs are removed immediately following the sale or rental of a property.

The 32-square-foot signs are the same as is allowed in Manchester and is basically the size of a sheet of plywood, according to Mackey.

Town Administrator John Anderson said 32 square feet is too big.

“I suggest we go to 18 square feet,” he said. “That gives a little leeway on the four by four that seems to be the standard now.”

Anderson also suggested that there be wording limiting temporary signs that are allowed without a permit to seven days. He said that would cover signs for yard sales and garage sales.

Anyone seeking a temporary sign for up to a month, such as for advertising at a store, would have to get a temporary sign permit, according to Anderson.

Mackey said the town typically allows for temporary signs for contractors at project sites as long as the signs are pulled once the project is completed.

The Planning Board agreed to the changes for the real estate and temporary sign definitions and will schedule a public hearing on the revised policy at its next meeting on Wednesday, June 19.

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