With adoption of the Sign Control Ordinance, the board established a Scenic Corridor along US 221 that connects a state scenic byway. From the intersection of US 221 and NC 16 in Jefferson to the county line in Fleetwood, the Scenic Corridor connects sections of the New River Valley Byway on NC 88 from Laurel Springs to Jefferson and on NC 194 from Baldwin to Todd.
The county’s new Scenic Corridor runs through areas of the towns of Jefferson and West Jefferson along US 221, but does not establish any sign control for those areas which are strictly within the jurisdictions of those two towns.
What designation of the Scenic Corridor means is that no off-premise signs designed to be visible from the road, such as billboards, will be allowed on this stretch of road within county jurisdiction. There was no comment from the public about this issue during the commissioners’ meeting, but a Crumpler man in the sign business for 40 years said during public comment allowed on the Sign Control Ordinance that he supports the ordinance. He described the billboards and signs in Jefferson as an “unsightly conglomeration” and hopes the Sign Control Ordinance will prevent that from happening in other areas.
A surprise move came from Commissioner Judy Poe who had opposed the Sign Control Ordinance during a first vote earlier this month. Poe seconded a motion from Commissioner Marty Gambill to adopt the ordinance during the second vote on Monday. Commissioners Gary Barber and Larry Rhodes were absent from the meeting, and Poe said because of this she approved the ordinance to prevent a legal challenge to the expired moratorium that was established last October to halt the construction of billboards until an ordinance could be studied and adopted.
Commission Chair Richard Blackburn supplied the unanimous vote of approval. He reiterated the board’s desire to be sensitive to the needs of business to advertise products and services while protecting the scenic views of the county.