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Town Aiming For More Consistency For Business Signage

The way Sally Willard sees it, when you drive into the town’s Central Business District on Cambridge Street, you’re going to be inundated by signs.

Some of which are appropropriate and others might give you pause, she said, such as neon signs, one of which sits on the roof of a well-known pizza chain.

“Not really the look 21st Burlington probably wants,” said Willard, chairperson of the Sign Bylaw Subcommittee.

At a recent Planning Board meeting, a public hearing was continued to ultimiately petition and amend design rules and regulations for signage in town.

During her presentation, photos showed plazas that house several different businesses, all with unique signs of different colors and shapes. Willard also showed how signs in town were being tied to public utility poles.

”We have a wide variety of signs, there’s really no consistency, and I think that’s what the design guidelines should be aiming for is some some level of consistency,” Willard said.

Some professional buildings in town have the right idea, she said. The Cypress Business Park sign is clean and uniformed. But another business with a “nice” monument sign was surrounded by sandwich board signs.

At Murray Plaza, behind the Cambridge Street area, there were a number of sandwich board signs along with a truck in the parking lot with advertisements on its sides.

Members of the subcommittee drove around town and took pictures of different business areas and the signage. Some members walked around and others took drive-by pictures.

Willard said the goal is not to stop businesses from advertising, but to do so within the guidelines.

While it would take time, Burlington could be transformed. Lexington, said Willard, is a showcase town with its consistent signs.

“Lexington Center did not always look nice and neat but it was concerted effort by the town and the businesses to make it look nice, and I think that we can take lessons from those around us as we try to make the Town Center …  to spruce it up a little,” she said.

It all starts with the guidelines and then the zoning for the business district that would allow certain types of signs, she said.

Board member William Gaffney applauded the group’s efforts. He did point out that the way one bylaw reads now, each business can use one of four different types of signage, rather than just one sign.

Willard said that was an oversight by the committeee, and that it would be corrected.

A motion was made to continue the hearing at the Dec. 1 meeting.