101°F
weather icon Clear

Nye County sign code proposal elicits outrage

Nye County is currently considering overhauling its signage ordinance for the Pahrump Regional Planning District and many of the initially proposed changes sparked frustration from the local business community.

Throughout two workshops held in recent weeks to discuss the proposal, business owners and others tore into the document, criticizing much of what was drafted while venting their fears that such changes would negatively impact the community and could even put a damper on the local economy.

During the first of the two workshops, held on Sept. 25, Nye County Planning Director Brett Waggoner gave an overview of the background of the proposal.

He explained that in 2012, Nevada had formally adopted the Highway Beautification Act which initiated the need to alter the county’s code to align with state law. The move placed new restrictions on signs and billboards along federal highways in the state, including highways in Nye County, with no grandfathering allowed although non-conformance permits can be requested.

The state provided a five-year time period for all such signs to be brought into conformance and permitted, a deadline reached in 2017. The county is now trying to play catch-up to adopt the beautification regulations into its own codes.

While adjusting the code to conform to the new requirements of the Highway Beautification Act, the county also decided to draft many other changes to its existing code to address signage throughout the entire Pahrump Valley.

The changes were first addressed at the Pahrump Regional Planning Commission level in Jan. 2018 and in July of this year, that board had voted to recommend approval by the Nye County Commission. Both the Highway Beautification Act and local aspects of the proposal were a driver of consternation for those who attended the recent workshops.

“Quite frankly, you reduce the signage, customers don’t know, they don’t come by, you can’t afford to pay your employees and you close the doors and leave,” local real estate agent Roy Mankins asserted.

Mankins added that if the state or county attempted to have signs removed, he believed that would constitute a governmental taking and could lead to future litigation, a position with which business owner Dawn Murphy agreed.

At the Sept. 25 workshop, county officials attempted to go through the document page by page to address concerns but this method proved to be cumbersome and somewhat chaotic as everyone attempted to locate the various portions being referenced.

Concerns about vehicle signage and possible restrictions on vehicle wraps, regulations of the height, size, design and content of signs, rules regarding animated and electronic messaging signs, time frame requirements for fixing damaged signs, setback and separation standards and more were all brought to the table.

After nearly two hours of back and forth debate and only 10 pages of the 30-page document discussed, the Sept. 25 workshop was brought to a close with plans to host another one in the future. The second workshop took place Oct. 29 and once again, business owners were out in force to make their opinions known.

Many of the same statements made on Sept. 25 were reiterated on Oct. 29 and several other points were honed in on as well.

One portion of the proposed code changes that drew much irritation was an added section to exempt holiday lights from the code, but only so long as those lights were put up and taken down within a certain time period.

The draft detailed that holiday lights would only be allowable without a permit if they were placed no more than 45 days before the given holiday and taken down no more than 14 following the holiday, provisions that had many groaning in disbelief.

Vehicles containing advertising signage would also see restrictions under the proposed code, with some of the language causing members of the public to question the ambiguity of the verbiage. There were many other concerns raised about various other parts of the proposal that were vague in nature and open to interpretation, which could lead to problems with selective enforcement depending on who is doing the interpreting.

Attendees also questioned the county’s ability to even enforce what was proposed, as it is well known that code enforcement is something the county struggles with due to a lack of manpower in that department.

At this point in time, the Nye County Commission has formally voted to reject the sign code proposal as presented. The document should now be sent back to the Pahrump Regional Planning Commission level with all associated comments and concerns from the public noted so that a new draft can be created. Once drafted, the sign code proposal will once again have to undergo the public advertisement and public hearing process before the Nye County Commission would be allowed to give the proposal its stamp of approval.

Contact reporter Robin Hebrock at rhebrock@pvtimes.com

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
THE LATEST
Nevada Health Response notes COVID-19 cases exceed 52,000

COVID-19 Response Director Caleb Cage and Deputy Administrator of Community Health Services Julia Peek provided the update during a teleconference designed to disseminate information on outbreak statistics. The Nevada Health Response website can be accessed 24 hours a day.

IN SEASON: Okra, a southern favorite for your western garden

Okra may be considered a staple crop in the American South, but it also grows very well in our hot dry climate. As a member of the mallow family, it puts on a stunning display of delicate yellow flowers.

Special legislative session scheduled to open Friday

Gov. Steve Sisolak on Thursday issued the formal proclamation to call the Nevada Legislature into a special session beginning 9 a.m. Friday, July 31 to address significant policy issues that cannot wait until the regularly scheduled legislative session. This will be the 32nd special session in Nevada’s history.

Report chronicles massive decline in fish populations

With hydroelectric power, overfishing, climate change and pollution on the rise, monitored populations of migratory freshwater fish species have plummeted by 76% on average since 1970, according to the first comprehensive global report on the status of freshwater migratory fish issued this week by the World Fish Migration Foundation and Zoological Society of London.

AngloGold Ashanti gains exploration project permit

The administrator of the Division of Environmental Protection has decided to issue a reclamation permit for an exploration project to AngloGold Ashanti North America.

Immunizations remain required part of back-to-school routines

As parents continue to navigate what back to school looks like this year, one aspect of the ritual that hasn’t changed is making sure kids are up to date on their vaccines. Whether families choose in-person, hybrid or distance learning models for the fall 2020 school session, Nevada law requires immunizations for child care, school and university entry, with the exception of religious exemptions or a medical condition.

DMV will offer renewals online, by mail this fall

Nevada motorists who have been unable to make an appointment at DMV offices before their expiration date will benefit from two new initiatives announced Tuesday by the Department of Motor Vehicles.

Nye County Civic Center proposal presented

In 2016, when Valley Electric Association was aiming to sell a 200-kilovolt transmission line and needed a vote of approval by its members in order to do so, one of the selling points for that sale was the promise that if it went through, VEA would donate $5 million toward the construction of a new community center. It may have taken nearly three years after the transmission sale was executed but VEA did finally make good on that promise, offering the $5 million donation to Nye County, with the Nye County Commission voting to accept it in September 2019.

NCSD superintendent lays out school reopening plans

Earlier this month, the Nye County School District Board of Trustees approved the district’s COVID-19 re-entry plan, which laid out three models for returning students and staff to school safely.