Volume 16, Number 2
At the December town board work session on Dec. 5, realtor Hilda Parler urged the commissioners and mayor to add a pledge to the North Carolina state flag after the Pledge of Allegiance to the American flag. That request was denied by the board largely because the outstretched hand salute reminded some of a Nazi salute. The General Assembly passed the statute describing the pledge in 2007.
The board also heard a discussion about the electronic message boards that have been incorporated into several new signs recently.
Both questions came up again during the Tuesday, Jan. 2, work sessions. There had to be a bit of recap for the benefit of the two new commissioners, Bridget Wall-Lennon and Liz Simpers, but it did not change the outcome for the state flag salute. “I’m not in favor of it; not in favor of the salute,” Commissioner Greg Harrington said, and Wall-Lennon agreed.
The Mayor Vivian Jones ended any discussion by saying, “The thing that knocked it out of the park for me is the legislature not doing it.”
Planning Director Brendie Vega said there as a concern about what she called the electronic message boards after a new gas station and the Culvers restaurant, both on Rogers Road displayed such signs. Currently, Vega said, the electronic boards are allowed in neighborhood and highway zoning but they cannot be larger than 50 percent of the sign area, new messages should be timed to fade in and face out, the message can not change faster than two minutes and cannot scroll.
Her suggested changes were that the signs be no larger than 25 percent of the sign area, no background color, the message shall be in one color and the sign may not blink or include animation. “Some municipalities don’t allow them at all,” she said.
Simpers wondered why they were allowed at all, and Commissioner Brian Pate, after saying he was not sure why they were allowed, added, “I remember Myrtle Beach” which at one point had no animated or electronic signs and now they are everywhere. “I don’t want to see Rogers Road and South Main turn into that.”
“They don’t bother me. They’re colorful,” Harrington said. Jones said she remembered a discussion years ago about not allowing flashing signs. Commissioner Anne Reeve said she was bit bothered by one but did not want to see 40 of them on a street. Wall-Lennon said she was not distracted and liked the idea of owners being able to advertise specials or send a message.
“I’m comfortable with the amendments she is suggesting,” Pate said. The board will consider the amendments to the Unified Development Ordinance later this year, perhaps this month.
Vega also introduced changes in the fee schedules for the planning and other departments having anything to do with real estate and planning. When she came to Wake Forest, she said she looked at the fees and thought the town had “cheap development. We really need to increase our fees to be in line with other communities and to cover more of our costs.”
There will not be a public hearing about the fee changes and they will be on the board’s agenda for its Jan. 16 meeting.
Also on the agenda will be a consideration of the motion to deny the 95 townhouses on Forestville Road. She and the town attorney made an error during the December meeting, Jones said. “We have to have a motion to deny. It is not sufficient to vote against a motion to approve.” The motion to approve was defeated by a three to two vote.