PAWS in des­per­ate need of new sig­nage

Scrolling elec­tronic mes­sages on hold for or­di­nance re­view

Maryland Independent - - News - Twit­ter: @Tif­fIndyNews By TIFFANY WAT­SON twat­son@somd­

On Dec. 21, the In­dian Head plan­ning com­mis­sion met to dis­cuss the new sign re­quest of the Po­tomac An­i­mal Well­ness Ser­vices (PAWS). The full-ser­vice ve­teri­nary clinic lo­cated in In­dian Head has been seek­ing new, cre­ative ways to at­tract visi­tors to the clinic and sought ap­proval from the com­mis­sion for a new, elec­tronic sign.

PAWS prac­tice man­ager Shari Whit­ney said the clinic plans to place a pole on the north­ern side of the parking lot where its cur­rent sign is lo­cated. She said the sign would po­ten­tially have LED light­ing with scrolling words show­ing dif­fer­ent busi­ness-re­lated pro­mo­tions to pass­ing cars.

“So many peo­ple are miss­ing our present sign,” Whit­ney said. “It’s only been there for less than two years. It is fall­ing down so we are try­ing to get a new sign so peo­ple can see that we’re there. They come up on our street so quickly and are so late get­ting there be­cause they call and say they can’t find us.”

PAWS was founded in Fe­bru­ary 2015, when Dr. Derek Parkin and his wife Claire bought the clinic for­merly known as Gly­mont An­i­mal Hos­pi­tal. The clinic of­fers rou­tine ser­vices such as vac­cines, spay- ing/neu­ter­ing and an­nual check-ups, as well as emer­gency/crit­i­cal care, ad­vanced soft-tis­sue and or­tho­pe­dic surgery with pro­gres­sive pain man­age­ment and pal­lia­tive end-of-life care.

At the Dec. 21 meet- ing, Vice Mayor Ron Si­toula asked if PAWS needs the new sig­nage for tax im­pli­ca­tions at the end of the year. He said at this time small busi­nesses are try­ing to max­i­mize their tax im­pli­ca­tions and could stand as a rea­son for the clinic want­ing to get the sign up as soon as pos­si­ble.

Whit­ney said it is sim­ply be­cause the clinic’s cur­rent sign is fall­ing apart and they need to do some­thing to re­place it. She said the clinic’s goal is to ob­tain a sign per­mit and then start con­struc­tion im­me­di­ately, once the plan­ning com­mis­sion gives its ap­proval.

Michael Pel­le­grino, chair of the plan­ning com­mis­sion, said at the mo­ment the zon­ing or­di­nance does not al­low the scrolling of words on a sign. The or­di­nance is cur­rent- ly un­der re­view by the plan­ning com­mis­sion mem­bers. He sug­gest- ed the com­mis­sion make a rec­om­menda- tion, along with ap­proval of the sign.

“We are still re­view­ing the zon­ing or­di­nance so if there were a ques­tion about re­vis­it­ing that then the plan­ning com­mis­sion can do that. There must have been a rea­son why it was not listed in the or­di­nance — it’s [dis­tract­ing] for driv­ers,” Pel­le­grino said.

Plan­ning com­mis­sion mem­ber Thomas Blake dis­agreed.

“I would like to re­visit that be­cause when I see the scrolling, LED light­ing on busi­ness signs, it’s cre­ative, catchy, and that’s one of the rea­sons why they have it. It’s new and it’s needed,” Blake said. “If the in­tent of an or­di­nance is for safety then that’s good, but hav­ing a sign pe­riod could be dis­tract­ing. I think in to­day’s world it’s im­por­tant for busi­nesses to be cre­ative so I would like to re­visit that in the zon­ing code.”

“If it, scrolling, would hold up the process, then we can change it to non-scrolling with an LED mes­sage,” Whit­ney said. “We would like to get the sign up as soon as pos­si­ble so we can go with a fixed mes­sage and then re­visit it af­ter you guys re­view the or­di­nance.”

The plan­ning com­mis­sion agreed to ap­prove the sign along with the rec­om­men­da­tions and con­di­tions that the busi­ness hold off on the scrolling words un­til they re­vise the zon­ing or­di­nance.

The words on the PAWS sign are to re­main sta­tion­ary in the mean­time.

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