ROCKPORT — After getting bumped off cyberspace thanks to a two-hour Spectrum internet failure Monday evening, April 5, the Rockport Planning Board is trying again this evening, April 7, to hold a public hearing on amending the town’s signs and advertising rules.
Tonight’s Planning Board hearing will be followed by a Select Board hearing on the ordinance amendment, and if approved, will go before voters at annual Town Meeting.
Rockport has an existing signs and advertising ordinance, Chapter 1100, but proposed changes include:
1) having the town establish designated locations and structures for such temporary signs to preserve lines of sight along streets and highways and to avoid visual clutter which mars the landscape; and
2) regulate the intensity of internally lit signs so that the light, “shall remain constant in color, location and brightness and shall not constitute a hazard to the flow of traffic.”
The reason for the changes, according to information attached to the ordinance, reflect several concerns.
1) The Code Enforcement Officer was concerned that he had insufficient authority to remove signs that violated Chapter 11.This has been remedied by § 1103 (3) and (4).
Changes in this section stipulate that signs not properly maintained, are in public ways, and have not received a permit from the Code Enforcement Officer may be removed at the direction of the Code Enforcement Officer or Public Works Department, “and the owner, if known, shall be notified that they have three (3) days to retrieve them from behind the Town Office before they are discarded.”
Also, the ordinance language has been amended to add that business promotion and campaign signs are to be removed within 30 days of the end of the campaign.
“The Code Enforcement Officer is not required to enter upon private property to remove signs which violate this Ordinance,” the ordinance says.“The Code Enforcement Officer shall give the property owner three (3) days notice to remove the relevant sign.If the property owner fails to remove the relevant sign, the property owner may be fined $100 per day.”
The ordinance has likewise been amended to reflect some Select Board member concerns over the temporary signs that appear at intersections in Rockport, specifically, at routes 1 and 90.
That has been a popular spot for organizations to erect signs about seasonal events, or sports teams sign-ups, as well as political signs.
The ordinance attempts to remedy that with creating specific areas for signs, “in order to protect lines of sight and avoids visual clutter.”
Proposed language reads:
- Temporary signs placed within a public right-of-way for a maximum of 12 weeks per calendar year except that a temporary sign may not be placed within the Town of Rockport right-of-way for more that six (6) weeks from January 1st to June 30th or for more than six (6) weeks from July 1st to December 31st. A temporary sign may not be placed within thirty (30) feet of another temporary sign bearing the same or substantially the same message. A temporary sign may not exceed six (6) square feet in area must include or be marked with the name and address of the individual, entity or organization that placed the sign within the right-of-way and the date the sign was erected within the public right-of-way.
- As an alternative to the placement of temporary signs within a public right-of-way pursuant to § 1104 (4), the Town of Rockport may create designated locations and structures for such temporary signs to preserve lines of sight along streets and highways and to avoid visual clutter. Other than location, such signs shall otherwise comply with § 1104(4).
- The districts in which signs can be displayed have been expanded in § 1113.