Union Township Trustees approve sign changes
HEBRON – No one showed up for Union Township Trustees’ public hearing on proposed changes to their sign regulations.
Trustees unanimously approved the changes, which are outlined in a document Licking County Planning Manager Brad Mercer presented to the trustees. Basically, the changes “clean up” the current language so township officials and residents can more easily understand them.
A major change is establishing sign regulations by zoning district, rather than the sign’s content. Some of the township’s sign regulation was based on what the sign said.
For example, “non-farm signs denoting the name and address of the occupant of the premises, not exceeding four square feet in area and not exceeding one sign per home or business” was allowed in all districts with a permit. But, by specifying the type of sign (non-farm signs) and what the sign may display (name and address of person who lived on the premises), the township was regulating the sign’s content, which is unconstitutional. Townships may regulate the size, height, setback, spacing, location, materials, and illumination of the sign, but not its content. So, township zoning now regulates signs based upon where they are; residential districts may have more restrictive or different sign requirements than a business district, which would likely allow bigger and brighter signs.
According to Mercer’s document, the township’s sign regulations now have:
• Standards for the computation of sign face, height, and dimensions.
• Signs like fuel island canopies, digital billboards, interstate high-rise signs, and multiple business signs that were conditional use are now provided for within Union Township.
• Temporary signs, like flyers, that are temporarily affixed to parked vehicles and buildings and not maintained are prohibited in Union Township.
• Standards for a sign variance were added for the board of the appeals’ and landowners’ benefit, as were standards for an application of a sign.
• Exemptions for regulatory signs, farm market signs, and indoor and enclosed outdoor area signs are provided for according to Ohio law.
• Temporary signs were amended to remove any contentbased terminology to clarify use and provide standards for the establishment, removal, use and location of temporary signs. Also, varying size requirements were provided to allow for a variety of signs within Union Township under specified standards.
In other township news:
• John Hower of the Mansfield based Rinehart-Walters-Danner & Associates Insurance Agency Inc. was present Monday night to tell the trustees his company wants to bid on the township’s liability insurance. Trustee President John Slater said Tuesday that it’s in the township’s best interest to explore other options for liability insurance if money can be saved. Trustees will accept bids before making any decisions.
• Licking County Director of Community Health Chad Brown thanked trustees Monday night for the township’s help during a tire collection event at Lakewood High School July 24. Roughly 6,000 tires were collected for recycling – three times the amount expected. Turnout surprised everyone. Slater said the event was criticized for poor planning but in reality the opposite was true. “It was overly successful.” Workers at the event were overwhelmed with old tires. ”
• Trustees allocated $1,500 to re-outfit the township garage with basic shop tools. Slater said former township supervisor Ron Braden owned many of the tools township employees used. When Braden recently retired, he took those tools with him. “We took (the tools) for granted to some degree,” said Slater. “We need to get those things back on hand and in inventory.”
• Slater said trustees and Village of Hebron officials are still trying to arrange a time to meet and discuss this year’s fire contract.
• Trustees will open bids at 7 p.m. on Monday, Aug. 30, for this year’s road esurfacing projects. This meeting replaces the meeting originally scheduled for Labor Day, Sept. 6. Trustees will not meet Sept. 6. A pre-bid meeting with bidders is set for 7 p.m. on Monday, Aug. 23.