Town sign committee settles on three options
The Marlinton sign committee met earlier this week to discuss three different options they plan to present to Marlinton town council members on Monday.
The sign committee was formed to reach a solution after small, blue directional signs — hung by local business owners — were deemed illegal by the West Virginia Division of Highways.
Committee member David Zorn said the latest option the committee explored would be to hang individual 24” x 24” signs for each business in town that requested one. The signs would be hung on the black lamp posts along main street.
“These signs were all going to be personal business signs — The Old Clark Inn, the Opera House, Locust Hill B&B,” explained Zorn. “Then Norris [Long] got the idea — why not just have signs with arrows that say lodging or dining, like we had before. I checked with Mr. [Dan] Young and he said 'yes, you can do that.' And it's free!”
Zorn said that option would be a little more complicated if other similar businesses in town were to open and request a personalized sign.
“Say, hypothetically, we put arrows and lodging to The Old Clark Inn, and another year or two years down the road, another B&B comes in and wants a personal sign that negates the arrow sign. The arrow sign would come down, the personal sign would go up,” Zorn said.
Zorn said he received some negative feedback from the state agency regarding the year-long debate.
“This Dan Young guy, he basically scolded us,” Zorn said. “He said 'I've never seen so much nit-picking and micromanagement in my life on such a simple little thing as this.'”
“From my understanding we had a complaint,” Long said. “And the complaint was legal. We're in a position where we have to answer to those complaints, and that's the only reason this originated. The meeting we had here, as well as research done by Nelson [Hernandez], was lacking in a lot of information. I think the problem was the correct questions were not being asked. I love the idea that they've come back and said 'free.' I can't understand why, in all these meetings, that information did not surface.”
“This thing could've been dead a year ago,” agreed Marlinton mayor Joe Smith. “They sat right here and told us, the signs were illegal because they didn't meet state road guidelines. The other thing was they were on the black light poles, they said that was illegal because the business owners didn't have written permission from the town. I personally like the idea of directional signs, without individual businesses. Dining, lodging — general signs — but people will know what they mean.”
“I agree this has been strung out more than it should have. The issue needs to be brought to an end. I think this time around we now have all of the alternatives or bases covered,” said Long.
Long said a recent misunderstanding delayed the issue even further.
“We were all under the impression that they were going to be on the traffic poles,” explained Long. “Whenever Nelson brought up the light poles, it caught three of us totally off guard because all of us thought he was talking about the traffic light poles.”
Long said the committee plans to present the three options at the next town council meeting:
“No signs whatsoever — like it is now — because of the potential of cluttering up the downtown area, another option would be to allow the signs by the private individuals to go up on the light poles, or general food and lodging signs with arrows.”