Hereﾒs your sign
It may be a sign of the times, or maybe it's an "only in Marlinton" kind of story, but the county seat's directional signage, primarily for visitors to locate off-Main Street businesses, is an issue that's becoming a divisive one.
The signs may not be legal, according to Marlinton Mayor Joe Smith. Smith said for him, legality is the only issue; however, Smith said last week that a majority of town council members are opposed to the blue signs.
Marlinton's Main Street is also part of Rt. 39, Appalachian Waters Scenic Byway, which stretches from Lexington, Virginia, to Summersville.
Robin Mutscheller, who helped spearhead the scenic byway movement a few years ago, is also Marlinton's recorder. At a byways meeting on Monday, Mutscheller said that group had given no direction to the town about the signs. But, as an officer of the municipality, she said that the town had never authorized the signs to be attached to lampposts.
"Byways does not limit directional signage," Mutscheller said. "T[he byways] group has not taken a stand against signage."
The byway designation can be used as an asset, she continued.
Off-Main Marlinton businesses, including the Pocahontas County Opera House, were represented at the meeting.
Old Clark Inn owner Nelson Hernandez said Smith is planning to remove the signs, and asked the group for help to "figure out what the proper way is to do it."
"The community is getting divided," Hernandez said. "This needs to be addressed."
Which regulations to follow-federal, state or byway-are confusing, he noted.
Opera House operations manager Drew Tanner asked the byways group to help town businesses find a way to clarify the regulations and develop guidelines.
Mutscheller said she knew that the town's rules could be more conservative than state guidelines, but not more liberal.
GoMarlinton also purchased banners for the lampposts. The remainder of those were removed Monday, as new American flags were attached. Mutscheller saidt hat the Marlinton Woman's Club has helped purchase new banners for the town to "help spruce up the byway."
Mutscheller said she would like to see consistent directional signage for the length of the byway.
Appalachian Waters Scenic Byways signs are blue on white.
Pamela Pritt may be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org