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Franklin approves policy to allow promotional banners

Event promoters may soon be able to advertise by hanging a banner across Main Street in Franklin.

The Franklin board of alderman approved a special banner policy at its May board meeting after being asked by merchants in March to consider the possibility. Larry Hollifield, owner of American Computer Repair in Franklin, told commissioners in March that allowing banners would be an inexpensive way for event organizers to promote their events and draw more people to downtown.

However, some aldermen were concerned of the distraction and liability that could accompany the banners. 

Hollifield and other merchants formed a committee to come up with a plan for the banners and brought recommendations back before the board in April. 

Town Attorney John Henning Jr. said the change would require an amendment to the town’s sign ordinance. 

Pending the required public advertising and public hearing, which will be held at 6 p.m. June 1 at town hall, the board plans to approve the plan. There are just a few restrictions. 

• The banner has to be a lightweight, windproof material that is mounted to poles or buildings by ties on both sides of the street. 

• The sign cannot exceed 240 square feet in area. 

• The event featured on the banner must promote a nonprofit or community event in the town of Franklin.

• Only one banner shall be displayed at a time for no longer than two weeks before the event. 

• Permits will be issued on a first-come, first-served basis. 

• Banners must be hung on East Main Street between the eastern boundary of Town Hall and the intersection of East Main and Iotla Street.

• The applicant must obtain permission from the property owner to hang the banner and it has to meet N.C. Department of Transportation regulations before the town planner will grant a permit. 

Aldermen also discussed whether businesses putting on the event or sponsoring an event could be listed on the banner. Mayor Bob Scott said he didn’t think businesses should be part of the banner. If businesses want to be recognized for sponsoring an event, he said they could be listed on other forms of advertising.

“I think if a business sponsors it they should be on it,” said Alderman Verlin Curtis, adding that at least 80 percent of the banner words should focus on the event itself.

“I think you’d be opening a can of worms,” Scott replied. 

The board approved the banner policy with the stipulation that no businesses are listed on the banners and that the applicant hold a liability policy for the special event.

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