AUGUSTA — The installation of larger, free-standing signs as well as directional signs in shopping centers and on campuses in the city will have to wait a little longer.

The Augusta Planning Board voted 5-2 to postpone the sign proposals following a public hearing Tuesday at City Center.

Roger Pomerleau spoke in favor of the proposals on behalf of the Marketplace at Augusta.

He said directional signs on the complex of stores and strip malls off Civic Center Drive originally were designed as temporary. Replacement ones would resemble highway signs with breakaway poles and 5-inch letters.

“You want people to read it quickly and clearly,” Pomerleau said.

Matt Nazar, the city’s deputy director for development services, said similar directional signs could also be used at such locations as Augusta Crossing and the University of Maine at Augusta. He also said MaineGeneral Medical Center officials asked last week about installing way-finding signs on the north Augusta site where it is building a new hospital adjacent to the Harold Alfond Center for Cancer Care.

The matter was postponed for further discussion after Planning Board member Linda Conti said she preferred to restrict the use of certain types of signs to specific zones. She said her concern was about “the proliferation of big signs in neighborhoods.”

In addition, Conti objected to having changeable message boards and flashing signs.

The board also voted 6-0 to recommend to the City Council that retail operations be added as a conditional use in the zoning district that runs along Mount Vernon Avenue between Bond Street and Bond Brook Road. A conditional use means people who want to open retail stores there would have to submit applications to the Planning Board.

The Council had requested the Planning Board review the matter after Rita McCollett proposed opening a consignment shop in the former Daniels Auto Body building.

Nazar noted that retail uses were recommended in that area in the city’s comprehensive plan.

Corey Wilson of Kelton Road spoke in favor of the idea.

“I think it would be a very positive thing to see something done with the Daniels building,” he said.

Tammy Manduca, who owns property at the other end of Mount Vernon Avenue, said, “I think you guys have a great opportunity to merge this issue into the revitalization of downtown.”

She said adding a retail use would offer more business opportunities.

Betty Adams — 621-5631

[email protected]

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