Signs are much on peoples’ minds

Published 5:30 pm Tuesday, May 14, 2019

By Frederic Lee 

Staff writer

The recent sign controversy in Smithfield reared its head again over several Chick-A-Que signs advertising a church fundraiser. 

Several residents questioned the signs, particularly because Smithfield Mayor Carter Williams is known to participate in the annual fundraiser for Benn’s United Methodist Church.

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Turns out that the one within town limits and at the church were permitted. The others were promptly removed. {mprestriction ids=”1,2,3,4,5,6″}

Recently, several businesses and nonprofits were angered when Smithfield town staff removed their signs without notice, citing a crackdown — as advised by the Town Council — on enforcing the town’s sign ordinance.

The Chick-A-Que signs were located along Benn’s Church Boulevard, right outside town limits south of Turner Drive, two were at the church and one was located along Battery Park Road next to the Welcome to Smithfield sign.

The Smithfield Times was sent a photo of a small Chick-A-Que sign in front of Williams’ house, as well as the home of Town Council member Wayne Hall. 

When contacted, Williams said the church had permits for the signs, and that was confirmed by Isle of Wight County Director of Planning and Zoning Amy Ring.

Williams said the Battery Park Road sign, located inside town limits, had also been issued a permit.

As for the two sandwich board signs at Turner Drive, Williams did not know who put those up. 

The church has a communal shed for Benn’s members to go for advertising material that’s stored there, said Williams. 

Williams said that the unidentified churchgoer probably didn’t know about any type of restrictions on signs locally. 

After Williams spoke with The Smithfield Times, he removed those two signs, as well as the sign in front of his house.  {/mprestriction}