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Digital sign OKd by planning commission
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The proposed digital, illuminated sign for the city of Dawsonville has cleared another step in the process to becoming a reality.

As part of the Dawsonville Planning Commission meeting on March 18, the city had requested a variance to its own ordinance regulating the size and luminosity of digital signs.

The current sign is 32 square feet, the maximum limit allowed by the city. The newly proposed sign is 48 square feet.

The variance passed a unanimous vote with the motion made by Richard Spaeth and seconded by Ken Breeden.

If approved fully, the sign will be purchased from Lang Signs for a cost of $30,387.20.

The Dawsonville City Council approved amending the budget to move the cost of the sign from general funds during their regular meeting on March 4.

According to the city, the funds came from about $60,000 saved in interest by paying off a standing loan.

Currently, there are no digital signs in the city limits, except for a digital billboard on Hwy. 53 East, so the city's request and the commission's resulting decision could set a precedence for any business requesting a sign inside the city limits, but outside the "historic district," according to planning board members.

"We do not fall within the historic district," said City Clerk Bonnie Warne during the meeting. "Anything that's downtown couldn't have a sign like this. We are on the outskirts and we have a large enough parcel of land that our sign will not be a distraction from the historic component."

Currently, the city is planning to allow local advertising spots for a small fee to help offset the costs.

"We want to offer advertisement at a very minimal cost," Warne said. "We know that the cost for advertising is expensive and we don't want to lose our businesses. We want to promote them."

Councilman Chris Gaines has proposed a sign policy and set of guidelines for the sign, should it be approved. These guidelines will be presented to the city council during the April 1 meeting.

The sign's fate will be decided by vote by the city council at 5 p.m. April 1 at the Dawsonville Municipal Complex.