As of the Planning Commission meeting last Monday, the Mount Jackson Farmers' Market, and all downtown businesses, still have no provision for off-premise signs. Sandwich boards in front of businesses will be permitted if the new amendments are adopted by the Council, but of course, those signs are only good if we can actually get people to drive through Town - and even then, the Farmers' Market is on a one-way side street. (Yes, fine... we bought a building on a side street - and yes we have an expectation that the Town wants to improve Downtown businesses because that's what's written in their codes and Comprehensive Plan. Big Deal Developers often come with much greater expectations and demands of the Towns in which they develop.)
I shutter to think that the only reason that the Town is even amending the Sign ordinances in the first place is to allow Point of Sale signage for the businesses that were formerly in violation of the codes. Fortunately, I am confident that our Town leaders, and other businesses, have more of a heart for fostering community as a whole.
Businesses in the "Highway District" are allowed 30' tall signs, which allow them to be seen from the Interstate. Why? Because they know how important proper signage is to their viability and success.
"Houston: we have a problem." We're not saying we have all the answers, but we are showing up to the table with some solutions, and are willing to hear others. As such, we have submitted a rather lengthy letter to the Council, which can be read below (we didn't post sooner because we wanted to respect the Council having a chance to read and digest it first), outlining our concerns, and with the hopes and expectations that there would, at minimum, be more discussion about how we can all work together to attract business to Downtown. Both Businesses and Communities are "living things". We must all remain flexible, and perhaps even a little open-minded when it comes to discussing the best environment for our businesses and community to thrive. SMALL businesses are the backbone of America. I can't think of a single business owner who would say that they wouldn't be a little happier with more business. Together, we can make that happen!
This issue is so incredibly important for the future success and revitalization of downtown businesses, that we feel the need to beg the issue. We have such a wonderful, and even unique Town, with two exits off the Interstate, that the Downtown businesses should really be attracting more traffic than what we are. Gas stations at our Highway intersections aren't the only thing Mount Jackson has to offer.
Woodstock, as one example, has addressed their need to promote the Downtown core with a new, flashy sign highlighting downtown businesses and activities. The business owners there report that it has been helpful.
We're not asking for what we can do ourselves - only what we need from the Town to become the best we can be.
Please consider attending the meeting to show your support and/or voice your concerns. We are very confident that our Town leaders are listening. Now is the time to be heard - not AFTER the decisions have been made.
Thanks again for everyone's continued support.