FORSYTH COUNTY — After hearing from members of the community, the county commission voted to extend a moratorium on enforcing Forsyth’s sign ordinance for another 90 days.
The motion passed 3-2 with Commissioners Jim Boff and Todd Levent voting against it. They also voted against the original 30-day moratorium, which was scheduled to expire Monday.
The moratorium was put into effect so that businesses would not be cited while the regulations were being updated. Under the current county ordinance, some businesses can change their LED messaging signs with much greater frequency.
Billboard-type signs can change their messaging every 10 seconds if they enter into an agreement with the county to run Amber Alerts, Levi’s Calls and other messages focusing on public safety.
However, businesses with small electronic signs in front of their establishments are allowed to change the messaging every three hours.
Steven Zachok spoke out against the moratorium, saying sign owners should have known the rules.
“My opinion is the businesses that put these signs in knew the rules that were in place when they put the signs in, and I don’t see a reason or a benefit to the residents to extend the moratorium,” Zachok said.
Levent also disagreed with not enforcing laws while they were being reviewed. “Are you familiar with anywhere that a speed limit was being considered … and they did a moratorium on writing speeding tickets on that roadway?” he asked.
The moratorium was originally intended to last for 180 days, but the commission cut that in half after hearing from the public. It will remain in place for 90 days unless legislation or there’s another extension.
Officials noted that only the rate at which signs can change is being considered in the ordinance, not sign permits, brightness or any other technical aspects of signs.
In previous meetings, the commission was told that schools were exempt from the sign ordinance, as were signs that displayed the date, time and temperature.