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Free-Standing Signs Eyed For Sharon's Johnson Drive and Route 1 Near I-95

One of two complementary proposals presented to selectmen Tuesday night.

Outdoor advertising signs would go up on Route 1 near I-95, generating fees for Sharon, one of two complementary but not exclusive proposals presented to selectmen Tuesday night.

A small commercial building on land on the west side of I-95 is the other part of the proposal.

The owners of vacant land at 100 High Plain St., off Route 27 near Route 1, plan to propose at the Dec. 3 special town meeting extending Sharon's light industrial zoning district to include five parcels totaling about 7 acres, Walpole real estate agent Michael Viano said. In the fall of 2008, voters defeated a request to create an overlay district including 100 High Plain, he said. The current zoning is rural district 1.

The parcels include 100 High Plain St.; town land; and the Massachusetts Highway Department garage, Viano said. The owners of 100 High Plain would pursue buying the town land for their building, he said.

Concurrently, John Carroll of the Boston-based Carroll Advertising Co. told selectmen he has made "very preliminary" efforts, and has some sites along Route 1 in Sharon under agreement, for outdoor advertising signs.

Viano said he and Carroll have discussed his client's site as well.

A proposal amending Sharon's sign bylaw to allow for such free-standing pylon signs in the light industrial zoning district will reach voters at the Dec. 3 special town meeting, Viano said. The bylaw currently allows the signs at Sharon Commons, he said.

However, Viano said the zoning and sign bylaw proposals aren't all-or-nothing.

"We intend to go forward with the re-zoning even if the town of Sharon doesn't want to amend their sign bylaw," Viano said today.

Yet if voters approve both changes, the proponents would seek Sharon permits "for three to five such signs located on Johnson Drive and Route 1 near I-95," Viano told selectmen and Town Administrator Benjamin Puritz in a June 12 memo.

"Depending on the number and type of signs finally approved the applicants will pay fees to the Town of Sharon as host community," Viano wrote.

"As a preliminary indication of the scope of such fees, were we to obtain permits for four to five one-sided or two-sided static signs we estimate total fees paid to the Town over ten years to be approximately $1,000,000.00."

Carroll told selectmen Tuesday night that the sign sites he has explored are "absolutely ideal."

The sites aren't near residential areas -- but are near Gillette Stadium and Patriot Place, he said.

"I don't think it would have any sort of impact on the quality of life in town," Carroll said.

Canton and Randolph have done similar outdoor sign efforts, Carroll said.

The Sharon sites are such that "I could make money" and give both the town and the sign sites' owners "a nice check," he said.

The signs would be the industry standard size of 14 by 48, he said.

Massachusetts allows digital signs only as a pilot program in some communities, Carroll said.

However, he believes the state will allow digital signs before the end of the year.

If Massachusetts permits digital signs after Sharon approves permits for signs, the proponents' agreement with the town would provide for that, Carroll said.

Viano said his client also will seek voter support for Norfolk County abandoning its interest in the former Route 27 layout.

Selectmen Chairman William Heitin said Viano and Carroll next should present their proposals to the planning board.

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