A signage study conducted earlier this year in the county has recommended the creation of a new system to allow staff to keep track of which signs have been approved or denied.
This, the Kings County Planning Advisory Committee heard, would allow staff to quickly remove signs that were illegally erected.
The signage study was conducted by Mary Bishop and David Smith, consultants at CBCL, and was tasked to look at issues regarding signage within the municipality. They were also asked to address a number of complaints that have been received in recent years.
Bishop and Smith looked at existing enforcement and regulations to recommend new policies that would be consistent with the Kings 2050 planning initiative, PAC members heard.
Currently, Kings County doesn’t have a direct policy statement for signage in general in its municipal planning strategy.
The consultants say that the county is, overall, doing a good job at regulating signage in the area. They recommended include eliminating or adding some definitions, removing the uniform business directional sign regulations, rearranging sections for better readability and adding requirements for wall signs, ground signs, awnings, signs in outdoor sports facilities and electronic message board signs.
The study also recommended that the Planning Advisory Committee obtain the authority to regulate signage within public rights-of-way, as well as the authority to issue summary offence tickets to people who illegally erect a sign.
In recent years, complaints regarding sign violations have increased from just two in 2010 to 20 in 2013. The reason for the increase in complaints is not clear, but Bishop and Smith suggested it could be because there are more illegal signs going up, especially on utility poles.
In 2013, 15 out of the 20 complaints were for off-site signs on utility poles. Most of the complaints had to do with the construction of illegal off-site signs or of on-premise signs being put up without the appropriate permits in place.
Staff indicated that enforcement of the current signage regulations can be problematic, especially off-site signage, because there is no “comprehensive inventory of signage,” which makes regulations difficult to enforce.
Grand Pré signage
The signage study worked in conjunction with the Landscape of Grand Pré Society and Kings County to develop a branding and signage plan for the landscape of Grand Pré.
Due to its 2012 inscription as a UNESCO World Heritage site, the number of tourists expected to visit Grand Pré will likely increase. The signage plan is intended to assist visitors in navigating their way around.
Signage is needed to welcome people to Grand Pré, let them know it’s an UNESCO World Heritage site, tell people where points of interest are located and provide directions for tourists, which will help keep traffic flowing.
“It keeps people from interfering with traffic when they’re looking and stopping and wondering if they’re headed in the right direction,” Madelyn Lemay explained.
There will also be signs telling people to stay off the Dyke roads, which is essential to the protection of Grand Pré, interpretive panels telling people what sites there are in Grand Pré and pedestrian maps to let visitors know where they are.
All of these signs will be located into the road right-of-way or on public lands at “culturally significant sites and institutional properties.”
The Planning Advisory Committee is now considering the recommendations put forth by the signage study. No changes or decisions have been made as of yet.