BY STACIE LETT CAIN
Troutman Town Council members appear willing to loosen restrictions against flashing signage, but don’t expect the town to be lit up like a Christmas tree.
The council agreed to revisit the sign ordinance after representatives of New Life Missionary Church asked the council to allow a new sign outside the church that would violate the current ordinance.
“We have researched this and we have discussed this at length in the past and I feel comfortable making these changes,” Mayor Pro Tem Paul Henkel said during Monday’s council briefing. “We need to take a look at the wording, but I think we can put the wording back to the way we had it in 2014 before we changed it.”
Planning Director George Berger agreed that the language in the 2014 ordinance may be outdated. He agreed to find more current language.
“I can have that language for you in a couple of days,” he told the council
Although council members generally agreed that electronic animated signs should be allowed within town limits, there also appeared to be agreement the some restrictions against flashing signs and any other type of distractions that would impede the public safety or enjoyment of their property are appropriate.
Church officials are not the only folks who would welcome the change.
“I’ve been saving up for this sign,” said Larry Rogers of the Career Academy and Technical School. “We do a lot of events at our school and I’d sure like to have a sign out front letting people know what is coming up.
“We are the best kept secret in Troutman,” Rogers added. “I don’t want to be that secret anymore.”
Proposed changes will be reviewed by the council and planning and zoning commission before any changes will be made.
In other business, the council was updated on the search for a new town manager.
“We have received a few applications,” interim manager James Freeman reported to the Council. “We have a few good people, but we are going to keep accepting applications until February 19 to see what else we can get in.”
The council also was told about damage sustained during Sunday’s stormy weather.
“We sustained some lightning damage and that destroyed some of the tower’s electrical capabilities,” said Public Works Director Adam Lippard. “We estimate that we lost nearly 300,000 gallons of water and the ability to monitor the water automatically.”
Town workers will have to manually run diagnostics to check water levels and output. That is a 24-hour a day battle for city workers, but Lippard said the situation should be remedied in just a couple of days.
“The parts are ordered and the cost will be turned in to insurance,” he explained. “We hope to have everything back up and running within just a couple of days.”
Troutman will hold its scheduled council meeting Thursday at 7 p.m. at Troutman Town Hall.