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Lawrenceville OKs new sign ordinance

LAWRENCEVILLE -- By a vote of 3 to 2, Lawrenceville now has a new sign ordinance, which will cover the latest technology in electronic billboards.

The action came Monday night at a well-attended City Council meeting which also included the recognition of World War II and Korean War veterans.

Councilman Tony Powell said the ordinance will regulate digital signage such as the one Gwinnett Tech has, and will require applicants to obtain a special-use permit before placement.

"We know we've stretched the envelope a little bit here," Powell said. "But, it (the ordinance) is defensible and very effective."

Councilwoman Marie Beiser said the ordinance was developed because businesses asked for it. Some of these electronic message signs could cost from $35,000 to $50,000.

The billboards will be allowed in the highest traveled commercial areas, but they must not create a traffic problem or have aesthetic issues, Powell said.

Powell had numerous changes in the ordinance before it was passed, and Mayor Judy Johnson voted against it because she said she was unsure of what changes were made in the context of the ordinance. Councilman P.K. Martin also voted against the motion.

In other business, the council:

  • Presented recognition pins to Lawrenceville war veterans, including two who were prisoners of war, on the anniversary of the Allies' landing in France on D-Day, June 6, 1944.

"I would like to challenge ourselves on the next time we see these veterans to thank them," Mayor Johnson said.

  • Agreed to spend $2.5 million in SPLOST funds for a new park between Jackson and Clayton Streets.

  • Heard the first reading of a taxicab ordinance which would require the owners of the cab companies to be responsible for having one master insurance policy.

  • Reduced the amount paid by business owners around the square for parking credits from $6,000 to $100 per space. This money goes into a fund to make sure there is plenty of parking downtown.

  • Appointed Mayor Johnson as voting delegate for the Georgia Municipal Association.

  • Awarded $12,000 to Precision Planning to oversee the raw water line installation at the U.S. Highway 29 crossing.

  • Awarded $24,840 to Contour Grading for the Winer Industrial Way Drainage Project.

  • Announced that the city farmers market is now open in the old City Hall parking lot.

  • Announced that the new water treatment plant will be dedicated in a ceremony at 11 a.m. June 17.