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GCC granted variance on directional signage

June 02, 2010
After months of discussion, the Zoning Board of Adjustment has allowed for a directional sign to be located on the Gilford Community Church front yard, five feet away from the property line.

Although the particular ordinance normally calls for a 15-foot setback, it has been argued that the sign would not be visible or helpful at such a setback, which is why the variance request has been granted. At five feet from the property line, the sign will be visible to both sides of traffic on Potter Hill Road.

Walter Flinn, chairman of the expansion committee for GCC, acted as the spokesperson last Tuesday night. He addressed clarifications in relation to the request and said that the sign would act as a "two-sided campus identification sign" that directs drivers to three surrounding areas by the church.

The sign will list the Gilford Community Church and its slogan, the Gilford Youth Center, and the Wixson Memorial Garden behind the facility, which many may not realize is there or used for ceremonies, said Flinn.

"It is important for the Youth Center to be labeled because of the buses, and to point out the Memorial Garden in the back," said Flinn.

Members of the ZBA said the first request did not specify the sign's primary role, to stand as a directional sign, and after realizing so, they suggested that an arrow be added to the sign. Members said the sign seemed to fit their ordinance in terms of dimensions, although they were concerned with its particularly wording and functionality.

Gilford resident Jack Stephenson said with Flinn's clarification of the sign's main purpose, he felt the sign should be accepted. He said the addition of an arrow on the sign was perhaps one of the most important elements, and if that meant a larger sign, so be it.

Although Flinn said the sign was already designed and cut out, ZBA members said an arrow could be added or hang off the bottom of the sign to show drivers where to turn. With no further clarifications needed, the ZBA voted in favor of the variance request.

The board also approved a request from Richard and Christine Metz of Gilford last Tuesday night, who asked that the Gilford Zoning Ordinance allow them to work at their residency under Home Occupation to continue on their low-key antenna assembly business.

Three McGinley Development Inc. applications were also set for last week's ZBA agenda, requesting that an ordinance allow for the filling of wetlands or crossing of wetlands on proposed commercial development property on Sawmill Road. Without permits yet in place, the ZBA tabled those items until the June 29 meeting.

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