Marlborough, Connecticut 06447


August 18, 2005

Sign Regulations a Hot Topic for Business Owners

by Shari L. Covino

Business identification is easily visible in most towns. But then, most towns are up to “current times” with the kinds of signage widely used by most businesses – which includes anything from neon to lighted overhead signs that make a business stand out. Signs create a lasting impression. But the Town’s signage regulations for Marlborough businesses may be leaving the wrong impression - or no impression at all.

Many signs are not visible because they are too far away from the street. That was a topic of discussion at the August Marlborough Business Association (MBA) meeting and is becoming a hot topic amongst many business owners. The three areas specifically addressed were neon signs, internal illumination, and the overall size of signs. As Towns differ in the rules determined for business signage, it mostly depends on the town size, zoning, and the size of the sign – to name a just a few requirements. In Marlborough, there are numerous types of prohibited signs – a regulation that needs to be reviewed.

“Marlborough needs to get with the times when it comes to signs,” one member said at the August meeting.

For Marlborough, examples of prohibited signs include billboards, streamers, pennants, spinners, or object three-dimensional signs. In fact, with the many regulations, it is often confusing to fully understand what is acceptable and what is not.

Director of Planning, Peter Hughes. Zoning Commission Members Don Neary and Scott Miller were in attendance at the meeting to hear the business community's concerns first hand. Members want to know how to best take advantage of signage that sells products or services of community businesses. Director of Planning, Peter Hughes, provided an update and stated that signage for the Town Center Plan is in progress and he is working with ABD Architects out of New Haven and Meriden. Regulations for signs will change and the Town, which has 384 commercial acres, is trying to create flexibility. Peter also mentioned a change in setbacks. Buildings currently are set at 50 ft. from the street, but this is a drawback that may change in the future to 0-5 ft. allowing for more sign visibility.

Director of Planning, Peter Hughes

The STEAP grant will provide $275,000 toward the sidewalk project. Another grant of $500,000 will be pursued to continue the sidewalk project to the center of town.

Temporary Signs

Peter stated that temporary business signs have been somewhat of a sore subject and opinions often vary on what is required for temporary signage. Businesses will have to come to some understanding of temporary signs and its requirements. Some businesses will have different requirements – the need for some businesses for temporary signage is valid.

“I don’t think we should get rid of them,” Peter said.

“Temporary signs are important to many businesses. For some, businesses are set back and without these signs, customer business is seriously lost,” Peter said.

A few businesses use neon signs to advertise. The proliferation of A-frame style signs in the Town center is a problem - Peter and the Zoning Commission have agreed in the past that the Commission and the Marlborough Business Association need to determine a way to solve it. That commission is working on an ordinance with regard to signs and other towns are being checked into for use as a model.

Peter added that the town needs to “zone for what you want – not for what you don’t want. If you zone for what you don’t want, you won’t get what you do want,” he said.

Peter further stated that it is important to think about the size and illumination of business signage to bring forth to commission members. The Zoning Commission will then make decisions on use of signs and regulations. Internally, Town Hall is meeting with Community Development Advisory Commission (CDAC) and the Economic Development Commission (EDC) to further discuss these issues. Additionally, it is important to provide feedback to Don Kuerner on what business owners would like in the way of signs and what the commission needs to address. Ultimately, the goal is to have everything in place by Fall. The Town will move forward with regulations, public hearings at that time.

Peter added, “We’ll try to make it as open communication as possible.”

In the meantime, the MBA community is urged to provide input and feedback on their business signage needs. There will be several ongoing meetings throughout the year that will clarify and streamline the sign regulations process.

 << Back to Main Page


About Us | Contact Us | © Copyright 2006 Marlborough Business Association
This is the official web site of The Marlborough Business Association
Site Designed and Maintained by GilPages Web Design