Council discusses eliminating internally lit signs, creating more of a unified look
Waxhaw commissioners want to cut down on the amount of light pollution they feel the town generates.
During the commission’s meeting Tuesday, March 13, members discussed the possibility of eliminating all internally lit signs in town, while looking at ways of using signs to establish Waxhaw’s brand.
“We’re not Vegas, but you can already see that surge of lighting on Highway 16,” Mayor Pro Tem Erin Kirkpatrick told council members. Saying she supported ideas like the annual Christmas lights in downtown, Kirkpatrick said Waxhaw just needed to manage lit signs better. She suggested the town take a page from Davidson, where officials reduced the glare from city lights and business signs. One of the ways to do that is to make parking lot lights shorter, with lids on them, to produce less of a glare. As for signs, instead of internally lit models, Kirkpatrick proposed the town look for a central design, something all signs would follow.
“(At) Cape Cod, they have these gorgeous signs that are hand-carved, that create a flavor,” Kirkpatrick said, also pointing to the unique signs in the town of Hilton Head. “This is an element of town branding. It’s meant to brand and further give ourselves a reputation of charm.”
The agenda item was partly the idea of council member Mike Stewart, Kirkpatrick said, but she gave the presentation as he was unable to attend the meeting. Reached via text message the following day, Stewart said he hadn’t asked for anything to be placed on the agenda, even though he did support some of the ideas.
At the meeting, some commissioners questioned what impact a change in sign regulations would have on local businesses.
“I feel it’s another way we’re not being business friendly,” council member Joyce Blythe said, adding that she would hate for a business to get frustrated and leave because of the town’s rules.
Council members agreed to continue discussion on the item at the next meeting, when Stewart could add to the conversation.