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      Task force set to redevelop sign ordinance

      The first Sign Task Force meeting was held at the Albany Government Center Thursday morning to discuss future sign regulation and the redevelopment of the sign ordinance established in 2009.The meeting established what the Task Force will be discussing over the next few months including problematic areas in the sign ordinance, and new areas that need to be addressed during the redevelopment.Planning Director of the City of Albany, Paul Forgey, said "the sign ordinance is a complex thing and there needs to be a balance between governance and what the people want."Forgey adds the redevelopment of sign regulation, as it pertains to the ordinance, will serve the safety and welfare of the residents as well as making sure Albany is aesthetically pleasing.During the meeting, the 1st Amendment was emphasized; stating that the ordinance must recognize the amendment. Forgey said, "you can't tell somebody what they can and cannot put on their sign." However under this developing ordinance, the task force wants to be able to define how big it can be, when residents can put it out, and where residents can place it.The main issue when discussing the development of the sign ordinance was the regulation of banners and flags. As of now, banners are only permitted out for a limited time and no definition on what defines a custom flag.The task force will be defining regulations over signs including; moving, roof, flashing animated, window, historic, vehicle, human, object, flags, and banners.The approach to non-conforming signs was also briefly discussed. As of now non-conforming signs have a three year life span. After the expiration, they have to prove to the city that it has economic life or take it down.Additionally the definition on what is considered "historic" was also discussed and will be defined in the future ordinance.Forgey is hoping to have the ordinance completed by July, 2014 and the Task Force will meet four to six times over the next few months.

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