By RACHAEL LONG
During its inaugural Board of Mayor and Aldermen Workshop meeting, town leaders discussed an issue with a surprising level of passion: temporary weekend signs.
Specifically, the leaders discussed how the appearance of signs on grassy areas of the main throughways was an unnecessary “eyesore.” For example, these are signs that point to lots for sale, new homes or subdivisions, etc.
Mayor Jimmy Alexander introduced the topic, and explained that the signs usually appear on Friday afternoon or Saturday morning. Some, he said, are even seen on the property at Nolensville Elementary School.
“As I see it, they’re illegal to start with,” Alexander said. “They’re on private property or they’re on the right of way.”
The question Alexander posed to his colleagues was simple and direct: “So, what do we do about it?”
Alexander said the problem has “plagued” the town for a while. He suggested rounding up the problem signs a few weekends in a row and either throwing them out or setting them aside for owners to pick up.
Town Engineer Don Swartz explained that the town’s sign ordinance requires the town to hold the signs for three days and attempt first to notify the owner. If the owners come to collect their signs, according to town code, they must pay a “recovery fee” of $10 per sign.
After three days, the town can dispose any unclaimed signs.
Aldermen Tommy Dugger said he had first brought the issue up a few town meetings back, stating that the issue was “certainly out of control.”
“I counted, back several months ago, I think 47 [signs] at the intersection of Clovercroft and Rocky Fork,” Dugger said.
Vice Mayor Jason Patrick said he recently saw 52 signs at that same intersection.
“It’s a disgrace,” Patrick said. “Especially on the weekends where we have so many visitors who are coming here with the intention to experience Nolensville. And to drive by 50 signs at an intersection that point you in 400 different directions for somebody that’s selling a house, it’s embarrassing.”
Patrick said the town should immediately take a stance on the issue and start collecting the signs.
“Do we want to be Nolensville five days a week or seven days a week?” Dugger asked the board.
Aldermen Derek Adams asked if there was a limit to the number of signs posted legally — that is, with a permit and with the land owner’s permission.
Dugger said the town’s code states that “the number of temporary signs on a property shall be limited to two.”
Swartz continued to say that the town’s allowance of temporary weekend signs on private property is actually “kind of unusual.”
“I think that’s part of the problem. We’ve open the door a little bit and they’ve kicked it wide open,” Swartz said.
No voting or actions will be taken during a board workshop, but Swartz gave the town leaders something to think about. Should they enforce the rule which already exists or write a new rule?
Public Works Director Kyle Billingsley said a member of his team spends two to three hours every Friday “doing nothing except picking up those signs and bringing them back to Town Hall.”
Alexander asked if it would be possible for the Public Works team to round up the signs on Saturday morning.
“I’d be glad to have someone come out to get them,” Billingsley said. “That’s not a problem at all.”
Billingsley said the Public Works Department collected a total of 64 signs over the weekend.
No public decisions regarding a change or update to the temporary sign policy have been made at this time.