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Sign on old barn to stay

County says evidence points to previous painting

POSTED: April 18, 2013 5:14 p.m.
File photo/

A debate over whether a “See Rock City” barn sign in north Forsyth will remain has been settled. The county dropped its case against the owner Thursday.

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The “See Rock City” barn sign in north Forsyth will remain as the county has dropped its case over the alleged infraction.

The county ended its prosecution before the scheduled hearing Thursday morning in Magistrate Court.

On April 3, code enforcement cited Ben Morris for the painted roof sign off Hwy. 9, which was made illegal by a county ordinance of 1996.

However, signs in existence prior to that year can be grandfathered in and maintained.

The county initially stated it couldn’t find any evidence of the iconic message after reviewing aerial photos.

Morris, however, was steadfast that the historic advertisement had been painted in the 1940s or ’50s and that rust and time had faded the lettering.

After launching a grassroots campaign to keep his sign, Morris said he was “very grateful” for the community support that will allow “See Rock City” to stay.

“This case serves to show that when we the people get involved, politicians and unelected bureaucrats will have to be accountable and answer for their actions,” Morris said.

Though the county states it reviewed additional information that led to the case being dropped, Morris said the evidence was there all along.

His handyman reportedly uncovered the historical lettering late last summer while beginning repairs on the dilapidated barn.

Dated Wednesday, a letter from Forsyth County Attorney Ken Jarrard to Morris states that resident accounts led the county not to prosecute the citation.

“Based upon the information I have received from those with historical knowledge of the existence of this sign, as well as the documentary evidence you have provided (specifically the notarized statement from the individual performing repairs on your barn roof), I have concluded that the sign on your barn roof is a legal, nonconforming sign,” Jarrard wrote.

County commissioners shared accounts they’d heard from longtime residents at a recent meeting, and asked the legal staff to consider that evidence.

 

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