Pickerington officials are considering easing regulations for the use of portable signs by Olde Pickerington Village businesses.

Pickerington officials are considering easing regulations for the use of portable signs by Olde Pickerington Village businesses.

Pickerington City Council - minus council members Jeff Fix and Brian Wisniewski, who were on vacation - unanimously approved the first reading of legislation July 20 that would revise regulations for placing portable signs, or sandwich boards, in front of businesses in the city's historic district.

If passed, the city no longer would require Olde Pickerington businesses that want to use portable or sandwich-board signs to receive approval from the Pickerington Planning and Zoning Commission.

Rather, the use of such signs would be approved or denied administratively.

"The current sign regulations downtown call for a comprehensive sign plan," Mayor Mitch O'Brien said. "When we're only allowing them one sign on a building anyway, it's kind of unnecessary to require a comprehensive sign plan.

"To get them back before the planning and zoning commission, there is a cost for them."

According to city planning and zoning director Lance Shultz, businesses throughout the city which seek to use portable signs to promote their firms must pay a $150 application fee for consideration by the planning and zoning commission. Currently, the planning and zoning commission has final say on which signs are permitted.

Under the proposed changes, the signs could be approved administratively if they comply with all other city regulations. While an application and related fee to the planning and zoning commission wouldn't be required, applicants would need to submit a zoning application with an elevation and site plan for the city's administrative staff to review.

The city also would continue to require that all portable signs placed on sidewalks in front of businesses allow enough space for pedestrians and those using wheelchairs or with other physical disabilities to pass by. As is the case now, those signs could not exceed six square feet.

"It sounds reasonable," Councilwoman Cristie Hammond said.

If two subsequent readings of the proposal are passed, the new measure would affect only businesses operating within the Olde Pickerington Village. That area is designated as being south of the railroad tracks, north of Park Alley between Hill Road South and East Street, as well as properties fronting East Columbus Street between the railroad tracks and East Street and properties fronting the west side of Hill Road North and South, from the railroad tracks to Park Alley.