Germantown Hills Village Board continues discussion of new sign policy

Nick Stroman

In a discussion that took more than an hour, the Germantown Hills Village Board adopted a new sign policy for business owners at its Aug. 28 meeting.

The policy changes came about after village businesses sought sign law updates  to accommodate advertising needs.

Village attorney Greg Bell said under the new policy, the responsibility will be placed upon the owners of the business properties to apply for banner or temporary sign permits and allocate when and how banners will be used.

For example, local chiropractor Tim Kaufman, who attended the meeting, owns the building where his sister, Tammy Poppen, runs April Raine Flower Shoppe.

Kaufman would divvy up the banners and signs Poppen would use each year and be held responsible if there is a violation.

The new policy states a business or tenant can be allowed four banner permits per year if it is a single structure and six banner permits per year if there is more than one frontage at the property.

Banners can be displayed for 20 days.

Temporary sign permits include grand opening to be displayed for 14 days, while anniversaries are seven days.

Bell said no signs or banners can be externally illuminated or cause a traffic or visibility hazard either.

Bell added Germantown Crossing is exempt from any new policies at this point because business owners there have been invited, but not participated in any discussion to weigh in on what their needs are.

“Once contact has been made with them, we can move forward with an ordinance change for the village as a whole and adapt it to include them,” Bell said.

Mayor Marv Johnson said Germantown Crossing is a unique property because it includes three separate owners for Jubilee Foods, Dollar General and the rest of the strip mall businesses.

“We didn’t want to wait to hear from them and penalize the others who have been an active part of the discussions from the start,” Johnson said.

He added he hoped an agreement could be ready to include Germantown Crossing by the next board meeting on Sept. 11.

Poppen said the business owners association plans to discuss the sign policy changes with members tonight.

In other news, board members:

• continued discussion on the condition of the village roads due to a recent chip seal coat project.

Robert Meyer addressed the board, saying his cul-de-sac on Elizabeth Pointe still has issues with loose rock and is not stable.

“It’s a safety hazard and it’s hurting property values, so I want to know what the solution is,” Meyer said.

Meyer added there are tar marks at the end of every home’s driveway, and he and his neighbors have been filling up wheelbarrows and using shop vacs in their yards to clean up the gravel.

“We have a man in a motorized wheelchair who is forced to stay indoors, and the kids are having problems biking up and down the street, too,” Meyer remarked.

The mayor said the village has been using oil and chip on the roads for a long time and he is giving serious attention to the number of complaints coming into village hall.

He added he wants the issue resolved by the end of this year before heading into another road repair project next year.

“It’s an issue of who is at fault and for what percentage and who is going to ante up to correct the problems,” Johnson said.

• approved a request for the Illinois Department of Transportation to conduct a free road study to possibly lower the in-town speed limit to 45 mph.

A few residents placed calls to IDOT to make the changes due to recent population growth and an effort to put in more walkways throughout the village.

One resident said IDOT told her there was a higher-than-average number of accidents at the Jubilee Road intersection.

• approved the streets and ditches repair project on Fifth Street at Coventry Farm.

Similar projects at Fourth and Sixth streets are ongoing, but not completed enough for board approval.

• and village clerk Ann Sasso said the Old Settlers Association donated $1,000 to the village toward the recycling program.

The money will go toward buying new collection bins, but the board is also discussing options for possible curb-side pickup.