Sidewalk signs may be banned in town
All those clapboard-like sidewalk signs advertising Berkeley Springs businesses that are so prevalent along Washington and Fairfax Streets may soon be history.
West Virginia Division of High-ways Inspector Barbara M. Abe from the Burlington Office told Town of Bath Council those signs violate state law. Abe, accompanied by Highways Supervisor John Coleman, appeared before council at the October 7 meeting.
Even though most signs are located along town sidewalks, Abe told council that they are still within the state road right-of-way and are illegal.
Commercial and outdoor advertising must be licensed and must not be located on state right-of-way, Abe said.
She cited liability and safety as the main issues with sandwich signs. The signs are often located in positions that obstruct driver's views of traffic and can be blown over on windy days, Abe said.
If an accident occurs because a sign either blew into the street or obstructed the view of a driver, the state, town and business owner would be liable, she said.
Abe also noted that state law
prohibits any signs that are attached to or block traffic engineering
(road) signs and that banners hung across a state road are also prohibited.
Outdoor advertising laws are set out in WV State Code Chapter 17 Article 22 and WV Department of Transportation Title 157.
Mayor Susan Webster suggested council might want to set a date of November 30 for businesses to remove the signs. Council decided to table the issue until the next meeting.
Abe said if need be, she would come to town and cite store owners for violations.
For more information and questions, call Barbara Abe at 304-289-2259.
Wilkes Street paving
Coleman told council he expected construction bids to be put out in mid-November for paving of Wilkes Street between Fairfax and Union streets.
Coleman said paving could start early to late spring next year.
Because of a safety issue of cars and trucks passing on the right near the Berkeley Springs Post Office and Moose Club, Coleman said the Division of Highways is considering putting in a third turning lane from George Street to the Moose Club.
Coleman told council that crosswalk painting along Washington Street would begin this week.
He also warned that salt for roadways this winter is in short supply due to the hard winter last year in the Midwest. Coleman said the price of salt has tripled this year.
Leasing train depot
Becky Percy who owns and operates Country Fixin's asked council
if she could rent the train depot across the street from her current location and relocate her business there. She said she was prepared to clean and make repairs to the depot.
Percy said if the Confederate flag was an issue, she would drop it from her signs.
Webster told Percy that several other businesses had expressed interest in the depot. She encouraged council members to visit Country Fixin's and take a look at the business.
Council voted to delegate authority to the town's Finance Committee to decide who would occupy the train depot and to negotiate a lease.
The Finance Committee is chaired by Councilman David Crosby, with members Mayor Webster and Councilwoman Irene Hedrick.
The Town of Bath will celebrate Halloween on Friday, October 31 from 6 – 8 p.m.