Birmingham Crossroads businesses face signage woes

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MILTON, Ga. — Can you list the shops that are located in the Birmingham Crossroads shopping center at the corner of Birmingham Highway and Birmingham Road?

Most Milton residents probably couldn’t.

Local businesses are frustrated with the sign limitations regulated by the city.

“We can’t advertise our business or even let Milton residents know we’re here,” one business owner who requested to remain anonymous said. “Our options are limited, and regardless of which option we choose, we lose.”

The business owner said they are allowed two options for signs; one placed on the front of the business or one at street view, but not both.

“If someone drives by and has a need for one of the businesses located off of street view, they may not even know they’re here,” the business owner said. “And if the business chooses to have a sign on the street, once that person comes into the parking lot, they won’t be able to find that business because they can’t post a sign at their location.”

Eva Rink, owner of Genesis 1:31 Salon Spa and Boutique, said the property owner, Andy McHargue, worked with Apex Signs and Graphics and applied for a variance in June.

They were scheduled to go before the Design Review Board in July but were deferred.

“Andy told me he decided to drop the issue because it was becoming too much for him,” Rink said.

McHargue could not be reached for comment, and Apex owner David Coulter would not discuss the situation.

Rink said she received approval from McHargue to put letters up along the wall near her spa, but the city made her take them down.

“It wasn’t a sign, just simply the words nails, massage, facials, waxing,” she said. “But apparently I wasn’t allowed to do that.”

Rink said the city’s planning department told her anything advertising her business was considered a sign and she didn’t have city approval to post it.

She said another location was able to use signage located across the street from the strip mall.

“They were able to find a loophole in the law and use a sign on another property owned by Andy, but it was a legal battle,” she said.

Trufitness Your Way Inc. owner Londa Hipp declined to comment.

Several business owners in the strip mall had opinions about the signage issues, but did not want to be named.

“If I give you my name, I’m afraid it will make any other attempts to improve our situation worse,” one owner said.

Another owner said allowing street and store signage would be a better option than having the strip mall sit empty.

“We’ve already had several stores leave, and I know a few more are considering it,” the owner said.

Rink agreed.

“The city says they want foster successful businesses and have more come to Milton, but if they don’t do something to allow the businesses here to be successful, others won’t come,” she said.

At Your Bark and Paw, owner Jamie Favoccia feels signs located on the property should be determined by the property owner.

“It’s private property, and I believe Andy should be able to decide what signs should be allowed, not the city,” Favoccia said.

She also feels City Councilmembers should consider the success of the businesses and how that impacts their council positions.

“Most of us live in Milton, and if our businesses aren’t successful, it’s going to reflect negatively on their time on council,” she said.

Milton Principal Planner Angela Rambeau said the issue has been tabled.

“The owner withdrew the application last month and no one has proposed anything,” she said.