Council allows lighted sign outside Orangeville’s town hall

February 8, 2024   ·   0 Comments


Orangeville council will allow a tourism campaign some leeway outside the parameters of the municipal sign bylaw.

The town’s Economic Development and Culture Committee requested a variance of the municipal sign bylaw to allow the temporary installation of a portable lighted sign at the circle in front of Town Hall on Broadway.

The proposed sign consists of four illuminated letters that spell “L O V E” and is intended to promote the “Love, Orangeville” tourism brand.

The proposed sign would be in place from Feb. 13 to March 18.

Town Hall is in the town’s Central Business District and falls within the Sign Bylaw’s Heritage Sign Special Policy District.

The purpose of the Heritage Sign Special Policy District is to provide for the development of signage which is consistent with the 19th Century architecture which exists at downtown Orangeville.

The regulations in the bylaw attempt to allow a variety of signage types but provide broad consistency of style.

The Orangeville BIA, Heritage Orangeville, Economic Development and Culture Committee, and the town’s departments of building, planning, and transportation and development all support the sign variance.

But Deputy Mayor Todd Taylor said to allow the variance would be an injustice to groups and causes that have requested similar forgiveness but were denied.

He said council wants to consider each circumstance as it comes along, but he thinks it’s odd to allow the variance considering how many times councillors have had the bylaw in front of them and they’ve supported it.

“I think it’s benevolent,” Taylor said. “I think it’s nice. I think we’re opening a can of worms that we shouldn’t open. Even though this is a nice thing, I just don’t see why we would do it.”

Heather Savage, the town’s general manager of community services, spoke on behalf of economic development staff who made the variance request. It’s an initiative to drive tourism to the downtown core during February, a month that’s typically slow for business, she said.

“This would be helpful,” Savage said, and added that she realizes allowing the variance may set a precedent.

“We did set up a similar sign for Canada Day,” she said.

Councillor Joe Andrews, who is chairperson of the Economic Development and Culture Committee, said he appreciates the need for consistent application of a bylaw.

“But I’m also a firm believer in the amount of time and effort and finances that we’ve allocated to the Love, Orangeville campaign,” he said. “This is an opportunity to wave the flag in a high visible area of our community.”

David Smith, the town’s CAO, said the sign is more of a piece of art. And works of art are treated differently than signage.

“And that’s one of the reasons we support it,” he said.

Mayor Lisa Post said she supports the Love, Orangeville campaign. Many resources have gone into it and it’s well received throughout the community.

“I think for our business owners it’s a great way to drive some traffic downtown in a time that isn’t a hustling and bustling downtown time,” she said.

Requests for leeway in the bylaw in the past have been for permanent signs. That was the reason for the denial of those requests, she said.

“This is only a couple weeks and it’s to drive a tourism campaign and I think it makes a lot of sense,” Post said.

A vote to permit the sign was passed by council.

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