Electronic Signs On the Frontage Roads

By Ross Hunter

Electronic retail signs along Georgetown’s frontage roads will be coming soon if the Council approves an amendment to the UDC proposed at tomorrow’s meeting. This meeting decides if our frontage roads will remain scenic or start looking like Round Rock.

Your attendance is important. Simply showing up is valuable because numbers matter. Other ways to help include signing over your 3 minutes of speaking time to those of us who will address the council, or speaking yourself.

The amendment is the first item on the agenda so it will come very soon after 6 p.m., and we can get away fairly quickly afterwards.

The meeting starts at 6 p.m. sharp, Tuesday October 27 at the Council Chamber, 101 E. 7th Street.

Additionally, at 4 p.m. tomorrow council members will watch a DVD produced by the Dunn Foundation showing how easily towns blight themselves with unthinking signage rules. It’s in the Council Chamber and open to the public. Some of us will attend this showing, feel free to join us if you can.

Taking points and source links follow.


  • It starts with the frontage roads and it will want to spread everywhere. Businesses currently excluded will want special waivers. This amendment is limited to frontage roads, which seems odd until you know it stems from an amendment request to Council last March by Dairy Queen. When others ask, will Council simply expand to other areas? There will be more unless we stop this now.
  • Electronic signs on the frontage roads are not safe: anything that attracts a driver’s attention also distracts a driver’s attention. The frontage roads already consist of much rapid lane-changing, this will only get worse as drivers respond to advertised specials.
  • Electronic signs are ugly: they look “trashy.” Currently the town shows well from the frontage roads and from the highway. Most highways are cluttered and ugly, Georgetown’s attractiveness is an exception that makes us more inviting. This is a deliberate result of our city planning.
  • The 2030 Plan is created in very large part from citizen input, which overwhelmingly has approved retaining Georgetown’s natural beauty, and setting “high design standards for all commercial development and signage.”
  • This amendment says that it accords with the council’s mandatory “responsiveness to citizen input.” However, citizen input at both the UDC workshop and the Planning and Zoning meeting that have led up to the council meeting was by a majority OPPOSED to allowing these signs.
  • As a compromise, if these signs are allowed, they must be made “static” by prohibiting businesses from changing the message more than once per hour.


The Dunn Foundation has excerpts from the DVD on its website .

The council agenda is here:

We’re dealing with item N, first item in the Regular Agenda. Supporting documents are here:
The Agenda Briefing is a click-through web page, the others are pdf files. The P&Z Report provides a fuller history of the workshop discussions.

And finally, here’s the 2030 Comprehensive Plan.

We will report after the meeting.

See you there!


One reply

  1. I think this is a very important issue. I just forwarded this information to friends in Georgetown and I hope many of us will join to oppose these sign which will change the character of our community.