by Lisa Tome
Is it Godly or graffiti?
Either way, it's gone.
For months, a sign reading "God Bless You" has sat on the lawn at Nesbitt Hall across from Tome United Methodist Church on Port Deposit's North Main Street. The sign was painted on a piece of plywood and propped on the lawn.
Last week, town officials called for the removal of the sign, which was taken down on Wednesday.
"It didn't meet specs. If it hadn't been a church, we would have ordered it taken down sooner," said Rod Heinze, Port Deposit's town administrator.
"It was hand painted. It wasn't the content. It looked a little tacky. All signs have to get approval by the planning commission," Heinze said.
"It was too big. We had complaints that it looked like it was graffiti," said Mayor Wayne Tome.
He said no approvals were ever granted for the sign to be placed there. "It's not the content. That is a pristine, historic building. It's not tasteful."
Tome said the town took no formal action. They merely asked people at the church to remove the sign. "It was an informal action. That's how we try to approach things here," said Tome.
"If we see yard signs, we are picking them up. We are trying the best we can to control signs. It's not acceptable to throw this stuff up (without approvals)," said Tome.
Tim Beardsley, a lay speaker at Tome United Methodist Church said that the sign was due to be taken down anyway. He said the message on the handmade sign had "run its course". Port Deposit's town ordinance contains very specific guidelines for signs. Among those are that:
• "Every sign shall have good scale and proportion in its visual relationship to buildings and surroundings."
• "Every sign shall be designed as an integral architectural element of the building and site to which it principally relates."
• "The colors, materials, and lighting of every sign shall be restrained and harmonious with the building and site to which it principally relates." In regard to churches, the ordinance states that there are exceptions. The ordinance allows signs erected on church property, giving the name of the church, the time of services and similar information