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DRC plans to review and update Signal’s design principles and standards

The town of Signal Mountain’s Design Review Committee is planning to spend 2013 reviewing and updating the town’s design standards and principles, which haven’t been updated since 1995, according to Vice Mayor Susan Robertson.

“The town has existing design standards that have been in place since the 1990s,” said DRC chairwoman Karen Rennich, noting that there have been many upgrades in technology since then. “We are reviewing the language to see if they still apply.”

Rennich said the committee views the existing principles and standards as “a very good base” from which to work. She said she does not yet know if the review and update will involve a large overhaul or just some simple tweaks to the language.

“This impacts residents, property owners, business owners and visitors,” said Rennich. “There’s a lot of different ways of looking at the design standards. All of those are important and those different perspectives need to be addressed.”

The committee hopes to have the project completed within the year, but it will depend on how many cases on the agenda must be heard as the year progresses, said Rennich.

“We will continue to work on these, although a priority is making sure applicants are heard in a timely manner,” she said.

Any updates or revisions may include adding new diagrams to make the document clearer.

“We want to see what is right for the town of Signal Mountain. I think it is about maintaining that small-town feel,” said Rennich. “We want an active and vibrant community, but we want the reasons we’ve moved here to be maintained.”

The committee recently finished updating the town’s sign ordinance and is looking for ways to streamline the sign approval process. One option to accomplish this was discussed in the Council’s most recent work session and involved giving Signal Mountain building official Chuck Martin authority to approve certain sign criteria, such as height, before sending it on to the DRC for final review.

“That would free up the DRC to work on standards and principles,” said Robertson.

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