Skip to content Skip to left sidebar Skip to right sidebar Skip to footer

Downtown sign plan hits another snag

After resolving one issue with a proposed new plan for signs in downtown, Jonesborough leaders are now facing another one.
In March, the owners of two local bed-and-breakfasts spoke against the Tree and Townscape Board’s plans to take down individual signage along Main Street and replace it with six kiosks throughout the downtown area.
The makeover for downtown signage is a part of a larger streetscape plan being considered by the town. A subcommittee of the Tree and Townscape Board has been analyzing the recommendations for signage for several months.
Town staff satisfied the two business owners by deciding their individual signs would still come down, but the word “lodging” would be placed on directional signs leading visitors to more information on overnight accommodations.
At last week’s meeting of the Tree and Townscape Board, another business owner with his own sign directing people to his business on Spring Street came forward.
Douglas Taylor, who owns a bookstore on Spring Street, asked the board to grandfather in his sign at the corner of Main and Spring streets.
“Because my business is located off Main Street, I depend on that sign for my customers,” Taylor said. “It has been very helpful. That’s about 90 percent of my business.”
Taylor has been in business in Jonesborough for 10 years. His bookstore was located on Main Street for three years before it moved to its current location on Spring Street.
At that time, Taylor said he got permission from the town’s Historic Zoning Commission to place the sign at the corner to help attract and direct new customers to his business. It has been there ever since.
“I’m asking you to allow the businesses that built their business based on those signs to continue to use them,” Taylor said. “Just consider how it impacts people in business who have built their business around those signs.”
Town Administrator Bob Browning again explained to the board that the idea behind the current plan is to get rid of individual signage directing people to businesses off Main Street.
“In discussions about advertising businesses in general, the discussion has been, because of the clutter of signage, not to do individual signage,” Browning said. “Taylor is kind of a unique circumstance. There’s probably a way of dealing with his sign and allowing it to stay up. The problem you run into is if you do it for one, then you have to do it for another.”
Calling it a “one-time” exception, board members agreed to grandfather in Taylor’s sign based on it being outside the map area that will be shown on the kiosks and the fact that Taylor already has a sign up.
Board member Jim Eldridge made the motion, with member Nancy Kavanaugh making the second. The motion passed unanimously.
It appears, though, that the issue may be back to square one. Following the meeting, Rachel Conger, the town’s parks and recreation director as well as a member of the subcommittee handling downtown signage, said the issue is going to have to be readdressed at the next meeting of the Tree and Townscape Board.
“We are going to have to look at again,” Conger said.