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New sign ordinance more efficient, official says
by Adam Elrod
aelrod@neighbornewspapers.com
March 13, 2013 09:04 AM | 660 views | 0 0 comments | 8 8 recommendations | email to a friend | print
It will now be easier to get a sign permit in the city of Hiram, but there will be some limitations on lighted signs.

In the past those who wanted a permit had to submit a few different applications to have a sign, said Jody Palmer, operations manager for the city of Hiram. Now there is only one application needed after the Hiram City Council voted to amend the city’s zoning ordinance last week.

The new application makes it easier for residents to know what to do to complete the application, Palmer said.

“It makes it understandable,” he said.

The new limitations on LED signs — typically signs with electronic symbols — are they cannot be larger than 30 square feet on the face, Palmer said. The signs could have been up to 672 square feet on the face in the previous ordinance. Larger signs are relatively bright and those which have motion can be hazardous.

“They do present a distraction to drivers,” he said,

Those signs cause drivers to take their eyes off the road, which is the intent, and it can cause a person to become dangerous while driving, Palmer said.

“It [the new ordinance] did not change any physical requirements, other than the LED signs, from the old ordinance,” he said.

Also at the meeting the council voted 3-2 to organize a reserve officers program in Hiram.

Mayor Pro Tem Derrick Battle said he supports the program.

The reserve officers will be Georgia certified officers who could be retired or no longer working in law enforcement, or wish to keep their certification active.

These officers will work on a volunteer basis, and the city will only have to pay for their uniform, firearms and equipment, which will be around $2,000 per officer, said Hiram Police Chief Gary Yandura.

Yandura told the council he plans to start small with only two to four reserve officers at first. He said he has some applications already, but will still advertise the positions.

Post 2 Councilwoman Kathy Bookout and Post 3 Councilwoman Teresa Philyaw voted against the program.

Bookout and Philyaw both agreed the program is a good idea, but both had feelings of uncertainty about it.

“I need more information,” Bookout said.

Philyaw said she thinks there is a possible liability with the program, which is why she did not feel comfortable voting for it. She also wants to chip away at the city’s deficit, and the reserve officers could bring more cost, she said.

“I hope it will be beneficial to us,” Philyaw said.
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