Town of Port Hawkesbury’s Chief Administrative Officer Terry Doyle gave an overview of proposed changes to Reeves Street at an open house on December 4, 2017.

PORT HAWKESBURY: An application to erect a sign in town cannot be accommodated.

During a special meeting of Port Hawkesbury Town Council held via videoconference on July 27, Chief Administrative Officer Terry Doyle said the town was approached by a business owner to erect an electric sign near the smaller Tim Hortons outlet on Reeves Street.

Doyle said the application was reviewed by the Eastern District Planning Commission (EDPC), and he asked for advice from director John Bain about specific sections of the town’s by-laws.

“Council has had the request and concern for some time,” Doyle told the meeting.

Bain responded that the sign by-law is part of the town’s land use by-law. He recalled there was a similar proposal “a number of years ago” to erect a sign on the current Secrets Spa property that was also turned down.

“Signs that are not related to any business or use located on a lot are not permitted,” Bain explained. “It’s not a new provision, it’s a provision that we’ve used in the past. There have been restaurants in town along Reeves Street that wanted signs on a number of properties along Reeves Street.”

Noting that without these signage prohibitions, large entities could buy-up spaces for signs anywhere they wanted, Bain said.

“So the by-law is pretty clear,” he noted.

Mayor Brenda Chisholm-Beaton said the developer wanted to “explore his options” to know what he had to do to get his application approved.

Bain explained that the business owner did approach him informally back in March, at which time he was told that his application could not be approved. But since no official application was made, Bain said the developer is unable to appeal.

“My recollection is that he didn’t actually apply for the permit,” Bain recalled.

If formally rejected, the applicant can then appeal to the province or apply to the town to amend the existing by-law, Bain said.

If an application is made to the EDPC to consider amending the by-law, Bain said they would then have to submit various options to town council, using other municipal by-laws as examples. Bain said this would be a public process involving the town’s planning advisory committee, as well as a public meeting.

“[These are] different ways that you might be able to accommodate it, including probably not amending your by-law,” Bain stated. “There’s a public participation component for this that’s crucial to this process as well.”

The mayor added that the town will reach-out to the business owner to inform him of his options and to explain the application process.