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City council mulls allowing sandwich signs

May 25, 2017
By J.T. Whitehouse , The Town Crier

In prior city meetings, Canfield City Council has discussed changing a city ordinance covering sandwich boards, a fold-out type of temporary signage that can be taken done easily when a business is not open.

At present, only churches and nonprofits can use such signs.

City attorney Mark Fortunato submitted an ordinance to council to review over the next two weeks.

"Look it over and give me your comments," he told council.

The desire is to move as fast as possible, Fortunato said, so businesses can get some use out of the signs if they are approved.

Attending and speaking at the meeting was Joe Sylvester, owner of High Octane Coffee Co. on West Main Street. He said after placing a $250 sandwich board outside his business, the coffee shop saw a significant increase in traffic.

"We put it out on my one-year anniversary and saw a 50 percent increase in business," he said. "I hope something can be done soon on the sign issue."

Councilman John Morvay is a proponent of changing the sign ordinance to allow the use of sandwich boards. Fortunato said you have to prepare for the unexpected.

"What if you end up with 150 sandwich boards," he said. "It could happen."

Under the present regulations, Sylvester would have to go before the design review board and seek a variance to be able to place the sign in the right-of-way. Because his business sits so far back from U.S. 224, just west of Cardinal Drive, placing it in the right-of-way is the only place it can be clearly seen.

Morvay said the same issue applies to businesses in the Canfield WPA Memorial building, which would have to put the sign in the right-of-way.

The issue will be brought up at the next city council meeting June 7.

On a different matter, police Chief Chuck Colucci informed council his department is prepared for situations like the May 12 report that an East Liverpool police officer accidentally overdosed after brushing a white powdered substance off his shirt with his bare hands.

Colucci said the police officer was responding to a drug-involved call on Lisbon Street and West Eighth Street and accidentally touched suspected fentanyl and overdosed.

"Our officers always wear gloves," Colucci said. "We use Nitro gloves and now have N-95 masks as well whenever we suspect drugs in a car. It is just another danger we are forced to deal with."

He said the big danger is opening containers. He said there was a report of an officer opening a cooler and immediately getting his lungs burned on the drug fumes.

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