Some thoughts related to a Towns County Sign Ordinance and the relevance of preserving the County as the environment which many came to live here for.
- There are a significant number of County residents that have relocated here to get away from the highly populated areas that contain many facets of the big city life. The sight of a mountain community free of major traffic, a high crime rate, large shopping malls, traffic lights at each road crossing, noise, and yes, the visual pollution of excessive advertising road and billboard signs. There are numerous citations as to the negative effect of roadway signs and billboards; simply Google search the topic.
- Many that relocate to this County have retired, and as such, constitute an “industry” of financial significance. With 10 to 25 years of average life remaining and a life savings yet to enjoy, the monetary impact upon local businesses is a real bonus. This population of retirees is different from the working resident, as they have an excess of hours of the day, perhaps some cash, and a shorter life span to use both. Most wish to enjoy a good mountain life, to spend their savings, become involved in community affairs by volunteer activities in government functions, and community centers such as the Georgia Mountain Fair, Hamilton Gardens, Towns County Civic Association, garden clubs, City and County Libraries, Sheriff’s Office, church activities, Food Pantry, Chamber of Commerce, CASA, school functions, adult classes at YHC, animal shelters, abused women centers, veterans associations, and others.
- As a side note, the lifelong resident does not offer the immediate influx of financial gain to the community. Their effect may maintain the economy but has less of a growth impact. The imported retiree brings money from outside the community and makes many direct deposits into the fantastic natural environment which caused their presence. The imported tourist and retirement dollars are immediate as newly infused money without being taken out of the community first. This influx of cash by the transplanted retiree and tourist (as well as that from lifelong residents) will not have any difficulty in finding its way into a business with an Ordinance compliant sign. This is not to say that all that retire to Towns County volunteer, but all do spend their outside savings inside the County.
- One local business owner was upset at the discussion about the establishment of a County Sign Ordinance. An Ordinance that would not prevent an on-site business sign, as well as an off-site sign. His objection seemed to originate from the fact that he wanted to advertise so he could make a living. Both are certainly appropriate.
The proposed Ordinance does not prohibit sign advertisement; however, it does offer an effort to have control over certain parameters such as size, type, number, placement, and frequency of signage. The individual then indicated that he owned the property, the property is his, and he should be able to do anything he wants on it. “Anything” is a word of great implications. None of us can do “Anything” anytime or anywhere. All activities in society have rules and limits. Your children are not yours to do “anything” with or upon, your money is not yours to spend in “any” manner, your car is not yours to drive in “any” manner, and property titled to you cannot be used in just “any” manner.
- Sign Ordinances make good common sense. They do not cause businesses to go broke, nor limit customers knowing of their existence, nor the service and products offered.
Tourists do not visit here because of the big city life or environment. A Sign Ordinance will not prevent them from finding products and services. Preventing this County from becoming what was left to relocate here for, is the business of County and City Governments. A charge that must be taken seriously in order to sustain this mountain setting from being destroyed piece by piece. There will be the push to enact change for progress, jobs, and money. Some may be reasonable, but allowing the deterioration of the landscape, environment and mountain way of life in a bit by bit manner is unacceptable. Uncontrolled signage is one of those bits. Compliments to the County Planning Commission for taking on the difficult task of establishing such an Ordinance. They are responsible individuals that weather the irrational criticism of a few in order to establish a proper environmental norm for the many.
Towns County Civic Association
Board of Directors