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Lewes, Delaware
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March 28, 1997     Cape Gazette
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March 28, 1997
 

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Sign law Continued from page 10 need a roof sign. "We're not Aspen East or the Hamptons and we don't cater to those types of people," he said, terming it a matter of trying to dic- tate taste. He suggested they tack- le the bigger issue of "preserving what we have" rather than creat- ing problems. Shreeve said she is most con- cerned with "beat up old signs" that change hands with each ten- ant and are all too often stripped of one business's name and the lighting left bare. There was overall agreement that awnings are attractive, al- though canvas, not plastic, was deemed preferable. Sue Krick, owner of the Summer House, pointed to the fact that Rehoboth's character is "a hodgepodge. Do we want a historic look when our architecture is eclectic?" she asked. Katy Cahill, a new employee at the Atlantic Sands, agreed. "I'm an outsider, I like the look of Re- hoboth. I don't want an Annapo- lis or a Georgetown. It's a good community - let's clap for diversi- ty - it's why the tourists come here." Cerullo replied that they don't want to diminish Rehoboth's eclectic charm, but "we don't want a flea market look either and that's the issue we're attempting to address." Neon is also considered a mixed blessing, which can be an attrac- tive attention getter or garish detriment to the streetscape. The Planners will consider allowing only a certain percentage of the building's square footage to be laced in this type of signage. Garey asked the crowd's input on the formula for the percentage of signage per storefront allowed and a l/mit on the number of al- lowable signs, with 20 percent coverage a figure discussed, rather than 25 percent. He also received input on the "liquidation sale" type of banners found inside storefronts which are seldom or ever removed. Cemllo suggested they come up with a time limit on such signs, such as 30 days a year that they can be hung. Frederick termed the present ordinance as having a "gi- ant loophole" when it comes to many of the "signs" inside the stores aimed at drawing attention from outside. Everyone agreed this and per- centage of space allowed for signs to be the most difficult areas to cope with. Bob Roland from First State Photo reminded the Planners that a small sign can be just as offen- sive as a larger one and that limit- ing allowable sign space "won't eliminate the problem, because the problem is taste and to legis- late it is a nightmare." Perpendicular signs are per- ceived as pedestrian friendly, but aren't allowed on the Boardwalk or Rehoboth Avenue. The Plan- net's wanted the merchants' feel- ness would have to conform to ings on allowing them as being in- present ordinances. Businesse. eluded in the overall signage per- wishing to exceed the ordinance's centage, and Planner Patty Der- restrictions could apply for a ape- rick, owner of the Sea Shell Shop, noted that in the summer the per- pendicular sign would be helpful, but in winter, she needs the sign facing the avenue. Concerning imposing time limi- tations on nonconforming signs, which are now allowed to remain indefinitely, the Planners are con- sidering suggesting that when a business out, the new busi- cial exception. At the suggestion of forming a committee to review proposed signage, there was a resounding "no" from the audience, while the merchants did berate their fellow businesspeople who leave unat- tractive looking storefronts when they close for the winter. Frederick advised that the ordi- nance sho_ul_d__aOdrcs_ the latter problem, with the landlord ulti- an area they will address and after mately responsible for ensuring the window is not in violation. Lastly, when it comes to en- forcement of the sign ordinance, Garey asked Frederick if she needs more staffing? Frederick told him she didn't think the city would want to add personnel to her department. But, she added that if penalties were administered more swiftly and had "more kick, you may see some problems go away sooner." The Planners a that this is the meeting Campbell said she was "grateful that so many busi- ness people came out. From what they said we might get a lot done just by tightening .up and putting teeth into our existing ordinance, but that's ultimately up to the commissioners." She added that they were meet- ing this week to review the com- ments made May 24 and how their responses coincide with the exist- ing ordinance. Roomy, Lakefront Courtyards Newly-designed, Garaged Villas Take Cont-rol of Your Life! 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