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February 25. 2013 8:12PM

Derry planners signal end to sign confusion

DERRY - The Planning Board is ready to move forward with a second public hearing on the town's updated sign regulations.

Over the past several months, the board and town staff have taken input from community members as well as experts in the field as it has sought to streamline and update the regulations.

Last week, the Planning Board gave its approval for the revised sign regulations and scheduled the public hearing for its Wednesday, March 6, meeting.

Once the regulations move through the Planning Board, they will then be brought to the Town Council.

"We're not going to be making a seek and destroy mission to figure out what the sign regulations are anymore in the town of Derry," said Town Administrator John Anderson.

The most recent revisions to the sign regulations take into account several recommendations made by Peter March of New Hampshire Signs in Londonderry.

At a public hearing in January, March said the electronic signs allowed under the new regulations amounted to little more than electronic message boards replacing static text signs. He said the town should consider language that would allow for more varied electronic signs, while still ensuring the signs were not overly bright or distracting.

Robert Mackey, the town's code enforcement director, said some of those suggestions were incorporated into the regulations.

"Rather than limiting electronic signs . by limiting them to copy or words, we would allow images but have restrictions as far as what can take place," said Mackey.

Under the regulations, electronic signs would be allowed in the town's general commercial and industrial 4 districts.

Electronic signs would be restricted to not changing images more than once per five seconds and would limit brightness to .3 candlepower above any ambient signage.

Mackey said he would have to purchase a foot candle meter to monitor the brightness of the signs.

Additionally, Mackey said several definitions were added addressing awnings and marquee signs.

The updated sign regulations will also give the town avenues to address abandoned signs in town.

aswift@newstote.com

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