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Weekly Question: How Do You Feel about Temporary Signs in Town?

This question came up at a recent public hearing and we're interested in exploring it further.

Wayland takes a lot of pride in the look of the town. So much so that a recently created Design Review Board is specifically tasked with helping the town head in a consistent direction when it comes to commercial development.

At a recent public hearing, however, a question came up regarding temporary signs in town -- the ones on wire stakes or sandwich boards that advertise special events, particular services or other information.

Specific examples include signs advertising flu shots or seasonal products, signs in front yards of work sites where contractors or landscapers are working, or lost pet fliers on utility poles.

The Design Review Board is planning to take up the question, but we want to know what you think: How do you feel about all the temporary signs around Wayland? What guidelines, if any, would you like to see enacted?

Harry Combs December 13, 2012 at 08:54 PM
Re: signs on private property - so no "Re-elect Warren" signs in 6 years? Oh darn. Re: ugly plastic signs - wait'll you see the even bigger red plastic "CVS" signs on W. Plain and Main St....
Michael Lowery December 14, 2012 at 11:48 AM
Thank you Tom! This statue does not distinguish between state roadways and town roadways and with their right's of way (usually 10'). In addition to removing such signs, citizens could provide a copy of the statute to the sign owner and ask the owner to desist, advising that they may in the future be subject to removal costs and fines. (Note that the statute would not apply on privately owned roads.) I agree with others that political and issue signs, on the owners' property, are allowed by right.
Michael Lowery December 14, 2012 at 12:02 PM
Yes - personal lost item signs, and charitable group signs should be simple to obtain from the police department under guidelines of purpose, quantity, location, and composition set by the Board of Selectmen. The owner would register contact information, leave a copy of the sign for later identification, and agree to remove the sign by some date certain. The signs should be required to have the 'remove by' date printed on the sign. Unregistered signs could be removed by anyone. Note: Phone poles are owned by utilities and permission to post on them must also be obtained from the utility. Too often public pole posters degenerate into sad, soggy messes of drooling ink on disintegrating paper.
Robin EL-Hachem December 19, 2012 at 01:30 PM
I agree the signs aren't a good look, nor is it convenient to stop, take it out of the car and place it on the lawn in the pouring rain, etc. When we purchased ours we tried to make it as attractive as possible but what can you do to a sandwich board? We'd love to be able to have a better sign that would be visible from the road but the town by-laws don't really permit it (unless you're CVS). Rather than be so curmudeonish about the signs how about thinking in more positive terms such as how can we better help the small businesses in our community?? What can we do to help them be more visible?? How can we better support them?? Positive ideas are so much better for everyone.
Bill December 19, 2012 at 02:23 PM
Robin, You would be surprised what the town will do if done through the proper channels. I take it you own a business and would like a sign. There are any number of people at both the Planning Department, Planning Board and the Economic Development Committee that would help you get a sign permitted. You would have to meet them half way and engage a sign contractor to come up with a plan and if done properly, I will bet they would walk it through the process for you… I would not assume the town is anti-business – there are good volunteers at the town that “get it” and are willing to work with people. Give them a shot…..

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