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In Londonderry: Free the sandwich boards
When your town’s chief zoning officer has to enforce an ordinance that is so overly restrictive that he tells people he disagrees with it as he makes them remove their signs, you know your local sign regulations need work.
That is the case in Londonderry, where the town bans most A-frame, temporary signs except during the summer, our correspondent April Guilmet reported last week.
“It’s very difficult to police these signs right now,” Chief Zoning Officer Richard Canuel said. “It’s definitely frustrating for our small businesses when I approach them and tell them they can’t advertise this way, and I’d support this type of amendment. Though I do think we need to have some sort of restrictions.”
Business owners want to be able to put sandwich boards in front of their businesses so they can advertise specials and sales that will attract customers. The current ordinance severely restricts their ability to do that. It should not.
Some restrictions, such as not letting the signs block the view of an intersection, make sense. But a blanket policy that prohibits most temporary signs most of the year is bad for businesses and residents.
In Hooksett, the sign ordinance keeps many business signs so small that reading them from the road can be a challenge. In Londonderry, the restrictions on temporary signs prevent business from doing important advertising for much of the year. In both places the ordinances needlessly impede the ability of local businesses to attract customers.
If towns make it unnecessarily hard for businesses to attract drive-by customers, they hurt themselves by making it that much harder for local businesses to prosper. Londonderry needs to review this ordinance and come up with a revision before the summer is out.
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