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Blowing Rock Town Council To Consider Planning Board’s Recommendation on Outdoor Merchandise Displays

One such outside display along Main Street earlier this year.
Blowing Rock Town Council will consider regulating outdoor merchandise displays along Main Street.

By Jesse Wood

Sept. 8, 2014. The Blowing Rock Town Council will consider a recommendation from the Planning Board regarding the regulation of outside merchandise displays for downtown businesses at its monthly meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 9.

In June, the council talked at length about the display of outdoor merchandise along Main Street during a discussion on whether or not to allow sandwich boards in front of downtown shops. The council then deferred a decision on sandwich boards until the Planning Board could come up with a recommendation on outdoor merchandise.

According to Tuesday’s meeting packet, the Planning Board has recommended the council adopt the following:

  • allowing outdoor display confined within three feet of the building on the public sidewalk
  • maintain a minimum of five feet of unobstructed public sidewalk
  • limit to five feet high, confined to the width of the building frontage
  • no display to block code-required exits or curb access
  • no display allowed across public sidewalk form building

At the prior council meeting, Planning Director Kevin Rothrock noted that merchants have “self-policed” these outdoor displays for more than a decade, utilizing the “Craig’s Grocery Rule,” which is named after the historic grocery because of the former store’s outside,18-inch vegetable setup.

Councilman Ray Pickett noted that while some merchants display tastefully, others don’t.

Councilman Dan Phillips added, “After a while it starts to look like a flea market.”

Read article on that June meeting here. See the proposed ordinance regulating outdoor displays here.

The council will also consider a recommendation on sandwich boards as well. See that recommendation here.

See agenda for Tuesday’s meeting here.