Toccoa Looking at Changes to Sign Ordinance

June 14, 2013

The Toccoa City Commission is currently considering proposed amendments to the city’s sign ordinance.

City commissioners held a first reading of the proposed amended sign ordinance at their meeting on Monday.

Toccoa Planning Director Connie Tabor said the major proposed change in the sign ordinance covers electronic signage in the city of Toccoa.

“One of the major changes of the new sign ordinance will be to allow electronic message board signage on Big A Road and Currahee Street,” said Tabor. “That is one of the major changes. There are specific requirements controlling or guiding that particular portion of the ordinance.”

She said the ordinance does put in place regulations for the size of an electronic sign, along with covering areas like the sign’s lettering and illumination.

Tabor did say that the sign ordinance still does not allow for electronic signs in the downtown historic district.

Under Toccoa’s current sign ordinance, such signs are prohibited. However, there are some in place that were either grandfathered in because of when the ordinance was passed and when the sign was put up or were put up after being granted permission by the city manager at the time.

Other than the changes regarding electronic signage, Tabor said the Planning Commission also worked to clean up the ordinance and make sure it was up to date.

Toccoa City Attorney John Dickerson said that the Planning Commission and city staff have done a good job preparing the proposed amended sign ordinance.

“I want to caution everybody that it is a delicate balance with a sign ordinance and First Amendment rights,” said Dickerson. “We cannot restrict in any way content, so they have worked extremely hard to put together an ordinance that looks to me to be consistent with the latest rulings in the courts.”

City commissioners thanked the Planning Commission for the years of work they have put in to updating the city’s sign ordinance.

Toccoa City Commissioners are expected to hold a second reading of the proposed amendments to the sign ordinance at their meeting on Monday.

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