The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

January 29, 2013

Fairlea church wants BZA decision reviewed

By Tina Alvey
Register-Herald Reporter

— A Fairlea church is asking Greenbrier Circuit Court Judge James Rowe to review and overturn a zoning board’s decision to prevent the replacement of an existing sign with a digital reader board.

According to a petition for a writ of certiorari filed in the Greenbrier Circuit Clerk’s office, Rhema Christian Center earlier requested a special exception to the county’s zoning ordinance in order to erect the sign, which features lights and moving letters.

Following a public hearing on that request, the Greenbrier County Board of Zoning Appeals voted against permitting the sign, with three members opposing the special exception and one abstaining. There were no votes in favor of the measure.

The three BZA members who voted against the sign cited opposition to digital signs in residential neighborhoods, saying such displays are more suited to commercial areas.

The writ petition, filed last week by Lewisburg attorney Robert E. Richardson, maintains that the county’s zoning ordinance does not specifically prohibit digital reader boards in residential zones.

Richardson also argues that, because the church is located in a high-density area that includes apartment complexes and medical offices, the lighted sign will not be out of keeping with surrounding properties.

The judge has not yet set a hearing in the matter.