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Fire Companies Seek Exemption From Sign Law

SANATOGA PA – Lower Pottsgrove could be only a couple of months away from adopting a new signage ordinance that currently is in the draft-and-refinement stage, but no matter when it’s approved representatives of the Ringing Hill and Sanatoga fire companies on Monday (July 20, 2015) told the township Planning Commission they hope to be exempted from it.

Ironically, the current draft requires even the township, much less the firefighters, to heed the regulations, Manager Ed Wagner said.

The Planning Commission has worked for several months with Montgomery County planners to adapt a county-created model sign law to meet Lower Pottsgrove’s needs. The collaboration follows a request from the township Board of Commissioners for a comprehensive way to address modern sign issues including digital messages, HD television-like billboards (above), the timing of rotating advertising, and others.

The request was prompted in part because of the growth of electronic signage in the township, and the variety of ways commissioners have dealt with it in the past. It also is an item of interest for board members themselves, who for at least two years have wanted to erect a digital sign outside the municipal building at 2199 Buchert Rd. but sought to put a law in place first.

Ringing Hill President Ray Lopez and Sanatoga Deputy Chief Joe Oberholtzer both talked with the planners. They needed more signage than what the law might allow, they said, to better direct the public to their locations and the services or events available at each. Although neither has immediate plans to erect digital signs, they asked as well for that option in the future.

Ringing Hill, which operates its station in a residentially zoned district, probably would be prohibited from some new signage, including digital versions, under the draft law as written, Wagner told the planning board.

Township Solicitor Robert Brant has assured the Board of Commissioners during past meetings it would be “common” to exempt Lower Pottsgrove government from being bound to whatever new signage regulations are adopted. Wagner said it might be possible to include the fire companies in such an exemption because they directly receive fire tax revenue.

Planning commissioners said they would consider the matter.

Related (to the Lower Pottsgrove Planning Commission meeting of July 20):

Photo from Google Images

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