City reviews sign ordinance

Lil Pantry signage was a tall topic at the Cave Junction City Council meeting held Dec. 11 at City Hall.
During the public hearing intended to discuss the estimated size of the sign for the city’s upcoming Lil Pantry gas station and convenience store, Rogue Valley Council of Governments Associate Land Use Planner Rowan Fairfield spoke on behalf of the city staff. Fairfield initially requested that the council deny the applicant’s signage proposal unless certain conditions were met. These conditions included that the sign not exceed the dimensions outlined in the city’s municipal code, that the sign be weather resistant, and that a permit be required prior to the sign’s installation.
Dale Hearst, the applicant and owner of the Lil Pantry location, countered Fairfield’s suggestion by pointing out that the dimensions of the sign itself would in fact fit within the city’s outlined limits, and that the confusion in the sign’s size estimate was caused by considering the pole that anchored it to the ground as part of the sign itself. When this was established, the council made a motion to approve the application under the conditions that a permit be obtained prior to installation, and that the signage be able to withstand wind and other seismic loads.
When the meeting resumed, the first reading of Ordinance 602 took place, which would amend the city’s municipal code to place restrictions on portable signage for businesses. This ordinance includes a one portable sign per business limit, places firmer regulations on signage size, and also included that signs be no more than 10 feet from a business’s entrance.
Councilor Lane was the first to speak out after the ordinance was read, stating that he felt that it was too restrictive for local businesses, particularly those with a significant amount of distance between their businesses’ entryway and the highway. Councilor Dugas echoed this thought, adding that he worried for businesses that were not technically on the main street, but used portable signage to advertise. Dugas also mentioned that he would like to hear from local business owners before deciding anything. Councilor Jones stated that she felt as though the city had too many portable signs in it already, and that these restrictions may be helpful in reducing what appears to be an “excessive signage” problem.
Ultimately, it was decided that the ordinance needs to be rewritten again to address some of the council’s concerns and take into consideration Cave Junction’s size and the layouts of local businesses.
Public Works Director Alex Ponder was noticeably absent, though council remarked on the fact that in spite of his absence the packets that he compiles for them are very informative and well-done.
Teresa Stover updated the council on the library renovation board’s expansion project. Despite needing to readjust their plans, the new library is moving toward being put up for bid a second time and will hopefully be constructed sometime in 2024.