9/18/21: PLANNING BOARD TO DISCUSS PROPOSED NEW SIGN ORDINANCE, REQUIREMENTS FOR PRODUCE STANDS. Candidate Meet-and-Greet Canceled.

A sign in a Southern Shores yard.

The Town Planning Board will meet Monday at 5 p.m. to discuss new Town Code sign regulations, as proposed in Zoning Text Amendment (ZTA) 21-08, and potential requirements for produce stands in the commercial zoning district.

The meeting will be held in the Pitts Center. PLEASE NOTE: The starting time is one half-hour earlier than usual.

In addition to considering signs and produce stands, the Planning Board is expected to take up potential amendments to the Town Code chapter on solid waste, if time allows.

Board member Tony DiBernardo has previously spoken about his interest in improving the recycling system in Southern Shores so that the stream is less contaminated. Too often people, especially vacationers unfamiliar with town waste management, deposit trash and unrecyclable materials (i.e., contaminated materials, such as plastic bags) in recycling cans. 

The Town also has a problem with both trash and recycling receptacles being left in public rights-of-way or in roadways for an extended period after pickups have occurred, and with litter spilling out of cans before they have been emptied on pickup days.     

You may access the meeting agenda, as well as the text of the proposed ZTA and all other supporting materials here: Planning Board will meet on September 20, 2021 | Town of Southern Shores, NC (southernshores-nc.gov)

For the ZTA text, see: REVISED-ZTA-21-08-Signage.pdf (southernshores-nc.gov)

For the staff report on ZTA 21-08, see: https://www.southernshores-nc.gov/wp-content/uploads/2021/09/REVISED-PB-StaffReportZTA-21-08.pdf

ZTA 21-08 includes a rewrite of Town Code sec. 36-165 and consists, in significant part, of five new tables that specify requirements for:

Table A: Permanent signage in a residential district for nonresidential uses.

Table B: Permanent signage in a residential district for residential uses.

Table C: Permanent signage in the commercial district.

Table D: Permanent signage in the government/institutional district.

Table E: Temporary signage.

The ordinance is being rewritten to ensure that all sign regulations are content-neutral and, thus, in conformance with the 2015 U.S. Supreme Court decision, Reed v. Gilbert, 576 U.S. 155.

Signs are a form of speech, and their content is protected by the First Amendment. When sign cases come before the Supreme Court, the issue is often whether a government regulation restricting their display infringes upon constitutionally protected political and ideological speech.

The Beacon supports “message” signs as a peaceful form of political protest and ideological expression and appreciates seeing such signs (such as the one above) in Southern Shores. Unfortunately, we will unable to cover Monday’s Planning Board meeting.

Speaking of political signs: Town Code sec. 36-165(7)(h) prohibits the display of any signs in public and private rights-of-way. If you would like to show your support for a Town Council candidate with a yard sign, please be sure to put it in your private yard and not in the public right of way, which can be hard to discern in some areas of town. (Some of the ROWs are very wide.)

Town staff members are actively removing all signs that are placed in the Town’s rights-of-way.

N.C. law permits the display of signs in the rights-of-way of state roads, such as N.C. Hwy. 12, subject to specific time restrictions. The owner(s) of the property that fronts on the right-of-way where a sign is erected must consent to its placement there.

CANCELLATION OF MEET-AND-GREET ON SUNDAY

Although I said earlier that I did not plan to report on my Town Council campaign in The Beacon, I am making an exception today to get the word out that I have canceled the candidate meet-and-greet that I had scheduled for Sunday, Sept. 19, from noon to 2 p.m., at 174 Ocean Blvd.

Changed family circumstances related to my mother’s health and well-being are compelling me, regretfully, to take this action.

ANOTHER COVID-19 DEATH IN DARE COUNTY

Because I have been preoccupied with my family, I did not notice yesterday that the Dare County Dept. of Health and Human Services reported another COVID-19-related death on its COVID-19 dashboard.

Three Dare County residents have died as result of an infection with the SARS-CoV-2 virus in the past month, bringing the total number of fatalities locally to 18.

The DCDHHS provided no details about the deceased person. According to its dashboard today, 12 local residents are hospitalized with COVID-19.

I extend my deepest condolences to the family and friends of the person who died.

I wish everyone a safe and healthy weekend.

Ann G. Sjoerdsma, 9/17/21

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