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New sign ordinance to offer more options

Posted on Tuesday, August 26, 2014 at 9:03 am

Changes the Winchester City Council is considering to a downtown overlay ordinance will be geared to allow business to have up to three signs, one more than currently allowed.

A workshop was held this past week at the Winchester Annex building that brought more issues to the table on how the overlay district ordinance should be changed.

Even though it has been a controversial topic in recent years, Winchester is working its way toward a new ordinance, geared to be more business friendly.

Beth Rhoton, city administrator, said Monday that no matter what changes or improvements that are fi – nalized, not all merchants will be satisfi ed.

“We are never going to set an ordinance where all problems are solved, but we are doing our best to cover all issues that arise,” she said. “But with zoning regulations, not everyone will be happy with some of the changes.”

wiWinchester City Council members agreed on a change allowing an individual business to have up to three signs, if the store has a rear entrance.

The new zoning rules being considered state that any signs placed in a window of a building are only allowed to cover 25 percent of the glassed area. At present, the ordnance does not restrict window signage.

The new rules would also allow signage total 10 percent of the building’s overall square footage. A 1,000-squarefoot business would then be allowed to have 100 square feet in total signage.

The new ordinance draft also says that if there are multiple businesses in one building, they have a directory instead of multiple signs for the aesthetic appeal to the city.

“We have so much invested into the downtown area, and a lot of money has been put into it,” Rhoton said. “We want it to look nice.”

A workshop meeting is tentatively being set for Wednesday, Sept. 3, to further discuss ordinance updates. Rhoton said an exact time will be announced later.

The council is hoping to finalize the sign ordinance changes by October.