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County sign ordinance may see revision

A variance request recently approved by the Washington County Board of Zoning Appeals will trigger a revision of the county sign ordinance, according to Zoning Administrator Mike Rutherford.
During the March 13 meeting, board members considered a request from Joe Wilson to reduce the front yard variance from 45 feet to 35 feet for a digital sign he would like to install at the Jonesborough Flea Market on Highway 11-E.
Wilson is basing the request on claims that, if built to current requirements, people would be walking under the sign and trying to drive under it, which could cause accidents.
The request is for placement of a 10 feet by 15 feet double-faced sign that would stand 25 feet tall within 10 feet of the right-of-way. The current Washington County Zoning Resolution requires a setback of 45 feet.
No changes have been made since the ordinance was created in 1984, and Rutherford told Zoning Appeals board members the setbacks are potentially antiquated and encumbering. The size of the right-of-way also causes some concerns since there is already a built-in setback increase due to the amount of right-of-way the state controls.
John Moore made a motion to approve a setback of 35 feet, which was seconded by Dale Fitzgerald and passed unanimously.
Rutherford said sign positioning in Jonesborough and Johnson City will be considered in drafting a new set of sign setback regulations to be considered at the next meeting of the Washington County Regional Planning Commission.
If approved, the revised ordinance would then go to the commission for consideration during its May meeting.