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Forsyth County Commissioners: New plans aired for billboard standards

Ahead of a July 6 public hearing, Forsyth County Commissioners discussed a proposed change to allow some billboards to be replaced.

At a work session this week, commissioners and County Attorney Ken Jarrard discussed the new plans for replacing traditional billboard-type signs with upgraded electronic message board of LED signs. 

The change would mean that two traditional billboards would be taken down and one of the locations could receive a new sign.

Currently, such signs are considered legal non-conforming, meaning signs there before the change are allowed but upgrades or new signs are not.  

New signs cannot be higher than the ones they are replacing, and the sign face can be no greater than 400 square feet unless facing Ga. 400, which means they can reach up to 672 square feet.  

Another change has been proposed to add a new sign to a location that has never had one previously, four static signs must be taken down and the new sign will only be allowed in commercial or industrial property and must be approved by commissioners for a conditional use permit.

Those signs cannot be lower than 30 feet or higher than 50 feet for signs not along Ga. 400 and between 75-100 feet for those that are.

Commissioners have discussed having a “night flip” for a dimmer sign at night, which Jarrard said it could be added as a condition for new signs. 

“Historically we have allowed, what I would call those smaller signs, to do that,” Jarrard said. “We’re not allowing them to do that anymore.” 

A cap and trade system for credits will exist between sign owners. 

Existing signs that are shorter than 20 feet or smaller than 12 feet by 24 feet are not eligible to be upgraded.

On June 15, commissioners voted to extend a moratorium on the signs originally adopted in November through Aug. 18. The moratorium can be lifted early if new standards are adopted. 

No action was taken at the meeting.