PT council approves multi-colored electronic signs

Published Jun 11, 2013 at 10:32 am (Updated Jun 11, 2013 at 10:32 am)

By a vote of 4-2, Peters Township Council voted to change its zoning ordinance to permit multi-colored electronic signs in the Washington Road commercial district. Council president Frank Arcuri and council member Robert Lewis voted against the motion. Gary Stiegel was absent from the meeting.

Currently, electronic signs promoting businesses on Washington Road must be one color – red or amber – with a black background. The change to the ordinance now permits multi-colored signs along the township’s commercial district, so long as they are monument-style and not pole signs.

Prior to the vote, council held a public hearing on the matter. During the public hearing, Lewis said he didn’t find current electronic signs to be effective in communicating messages to the public.

“Notices of two-liters of soft drinks on sale for 99 cents are not show stoppers,” Lewis said. He added that he was also concerned that if multi-colored signs were allowed that businesses would advertise personal products or prescription drugs. “Do you want the two people in a bathtub on the corner of Route 19?” Lewis asked.

Peters Township Manager Michael Silvestri said the township cannot control the content of what businesses advertise on their signs.

Arcuri said he agreed with Lewis regarding the signs. “I’ve never been a big proponent of these types of signs,” he said. “I don’t see the need for it. Most people get away with regular signage. I think it has the potential to junk up the business district, for lack of a better word.”

Council member David Ball said a business has the right to tell people what they’re selling. “You can’t regulate what they say,” he said, adding that because the signs are to be monument-style, it is a “possible step forward from the pole sign.”

“No one likes the electronic signs, but it’s currently what’s available today,” said council member David Berquist. He added that he thinks businesses should have the opportunity to advertise in the best way they can.

“I’m not wild about it, but it’s a legitimate use of technology,” said council member Monica Merrell. She said Route 19 is the township’s commercial district, but she doesn’t want to see electronic signs on side roads in the township. “I would hope people would take the high road as far as content,” she added.

Stacy Pape, owner of SP Floors in Peters Township, said during the public hearing that a multi-colored sign would help her promote her business better than a sign that is one color like red or amber. “We are selling higher-end products,” she said, adding that to do it in full-color digital with an image that is not moving or blinking in any way would benefit her business.

Pape said a digital sign is “not meant to junk it up, but make it more tasteful.”

New restaurant

Council unanimously approved the site plan for Fiore’s Pizza and Italian Cuisine, which will be located at the former Parkvale Bank site along Washington Road. Council had granted conditional use approval for the restaurant at its May 13 meeting.

Richard Hamil, architect for the project stated that two-way traffic around the building was able to be achieved. He also stated that he met with a landscape architect regarding the plants along the site and several plants are still valuable, while some will have to be replaced. Hamil added that a monument-style sign will be placed where the pole sign for the bank currently stands.

Sugar Camp Road Trail Bridge

Council voted to award the contract for the replacement of the Sugar Camp Road Trail Bridge to Appalachian Industries in the amount of $733,637. Appalachian Industries was the low bidder for the project. Silvestri said the township received a grant from Washington County to cover about $250,000 of the project.

Mark Zemaitis, director of engineering for the township, said the budget for the project was slightly more than $1 million. He said the project could be finished by the end of October.

Traffic Calming Study

Council voted to approve performing a traffic calming study for the Center Church/Johnston Road area. The study will cost about $3,500.

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