Businesses support signage amendment

GREENVILLE – Greenville’s downtown businesses may soon have another tool to attract customers if council approves a zoning amendment recommendation. Main Street Greenville (MSG) with the support of downtown businesses asked for an amendment to the sign regulation to allow for pedestrian signs to be erected in the Downtown Enterprise and Architectural Review Overlay District. On Tuesday, council chambers were filled with representatives from downtown businesses who were there to show support for the amendment.

The pedestrian signs would be commissioned by the building or business owner, at no cost to the city, and would be visible to pedestrians walking on the sidewalks. The signs would be 8- to 10-feet above the sidewalk and would be no more than 5-square feet in size.

Crysta Bloomingdale, executive director of MSG, said, “We feel that including the pedestrian signs in the downtown enterprise district is beneficial for businesses, particularly when we get visitors that come through that may not know where our staple stores are. Pedestrian signs do allow for businesses to attract shoppers and restaurants to attract people to come in and eat.”

Bloomingdale pointed out this issue has come before council previously and concerns were expressed. “We did work with city administration, safety service director, to make some amendments to the language of the zoning text that would make it more specific for size limits, height requirement and number of signs per building. We’ve really tried to make it as specific as possible in order to protect the historicity of our downtown while serving our businesses.”

Kirsten Berghoff, owner of Sadie Grace Boutique, believes there is a need for the signs and quoted a 10 percent sales growth for businesses with “those small, little signs.” Amber Garrett, co-owner of the Coffee Pot, said, “Anything we can add to be a tool for our small businesses that are locally owned and operated – it is a walkable district, that’s one of the benefits of our downtown district.”

Chad Henry, planning & zoning director, explained the current sign ordinance remains in place, but the amendment allows for pedestrian signs. Businesses wanting a sign would be required to submit plans to the Architectural Review Board to get a certificate of appropriateness, which is needed to get a sign permit from the city. “The legislation is written pretty tight,” he said. “Nothing is to be lower than 8-feet – that matches Ohio Revised Code – and nothing is to be higher than 10-feet. We also put in legislation where these things wouldn’t be too closely spaced as to not present any sort of clutter.”

Council will be able to vote on legislation at its Jan. 15 meeting.

In other business, council:

* Accepted the resignation of Councilman Doug Schmidt as council president pro-tem and elected John Hensley to that position. Schmidt will retain his seat on council;

* Learned Roxanne Beck has been appointed as clerk pro-tem;

* Heard a rezoning request from Wayne HealthCare for 12-acres fronting Sweitzer Street to go from Neighborhood Business and Urban Residential to Special Use for Healthcare. A public hearing will be held Feb. 19 during the regular meeting of council.

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