Earlier this week we were informed that our (2) 2’x3’ A-frame signs placed on Main Street and used to direct people to the new Mount Jackson Farmers’ Market were in violation of the Town Code. One was placed in a grassy area near the new Veterans’ Park; the other in front of the Bowman Shannon Cultural Arts Center.
The outdoor Market has been running for a mere 7 weeks. We have been averaging 30 customers on Saturdays, with each Saturday successfully attracting more customers. We have a growing number of “regular” customers at the moment, with new faces showing up each week. Saturdays are slower than Wednesdays because we currently have less vendors than on Wednesdays due to prior commitments of Saturday vendors.
Firstly, we have an undue hardship. The business is one of the few, if not the ONLY business (will have to verify), in a B-1 District that is NOT sitting directly on Main Street. Passers-by from the South cannot see the building; and passers-by from the North only see the lot. The building sits at the rear of the lot and is not readily visible from Main Street. Therefore the code provisions for the signage on the face of the building do not meet the business' need for presence in the public eye.
From Section 66-166 of the Town Code:
- Buildings within this district are encouraged to be multi-use.
- It is intended that the downtown area remain a viable mixed-use core and that the historic character be promoted and enhanced throughout the B-1 district.
- The purpose of these regulations is to protect the old and historic landmarks, … perpetuate such buildings,… the support and stimulus to business and industry thereby provided; to strengthen the economy of the town;
- Further, the purpose of this central business district is to recognize and foster through legislation the distinctive character of the original old Mount Jackson commercial district and to provide for the protection and preservation of the traditional image and history of that unique area as it presently exists and to promote and enhance future development which is compatible with that character and heritage as symbolized by the excellence in design, architecture of that period of development of Mount Jackson while blending private with public development and maintenance of that valuable distinct character.
- ...encourage the optimum use of the real estate within the zone, attract new business, enhance the tax base of real estate and the taxable value of businesses within the area,
Goal 5-10: Promote agriculture.
- Strategy 5-10-1: Promote agricultural tourism.
- 5-10-1-a: Encourage area farms to sponsor tourist-oriented farm vacations.
- Strategy 5-10-2: Promote farmers’ markets.
Considering both the intent of the Zoning and the goals of the Comprehensive Plan, and provided our undue hardship, it is our belief, and the belief of the Mount Jackson Farmers’ Market Vendors and Customers, that a couple of TEMPORARY 2’x3’ signs directing folks to a HISTORIC BUILDING and FARMERS’ MARKET, and put out and taken down on Market Days, would be easily accommodated by the Council by general consensus.
Lastly, the Codes for both the B-1 and B-2 districts prohibit “signs which flash, move, rotate, blink, flicker, or vary in intensity or color”, pennants and portable signs. The code further states “ No lights of intermittent, flashing or animated types shall be permitted” and “No signs, temporary or permanent, shall be permitted which are posted, stapled or otherwise permanently attached to trees or utility poles within the street line.”
After a review of other Main Street businesses, we have found that there are a number of businesses which violate the code and therefore it is appearing that enforcement of the code is targeting our new business only. (Photos attached.)
Please advise us on how, as a new business in a historic structure, we can direct customers from Main Street to our business under the current codes. OR please enforce the codes EQUALLY among all businesses. We are happy to oblige, but need this effort to be a partnership rather than working against our new business.