Jan Harris

Jan Harris, Taylor Main Street manager, goes over signage during the Greater Taylor Chamber of Commerce’s virtual luncheon Oct. 19.

Everybody can use a little direction now and again, and local businesses recently learned about the impact signs can have in attracting new visitors.

This past Monday, Oct. 19, the Greater Taylor Chamber of Commerce held its monthly program and lunch through videoconference. Jan Harris, director of Taylor’s Main Street Association and Main Street manager, addressed chamber members on the city’s sign ordinance. She also talked about the Main Street Association and how it can help.

“What we’re trying to do is help reach a balance with the businesses reaching the shopping public within the context of historic preservation with consistency and good design,” said Harris, “and that’s the tenets of Main Street.”

Harris is a national certified Main Street manager with 21 years of experience. She previously worked as the Main Street Program executive director for the city of Dahlonega in Georgia. She began her tenure in Taylor in November 2019.

“Our goal is to work towards fabulous signage that not only will promote the terrific businesses that are here and are coming,” said Harris, “but also will echo and compliment the architecture that is here.”

Among highlights from Harris’ presentation was discussion on non-permitted signage. Since signage will occasionally not be up to city code, Harris wanted to reiterate that city staff is not out to get small business owners who are already in financial peril due to the COVID-19 pandemic. She indicated prior staff did not always adhere to the requirements for businesses to obtain prior permits, such as using verbal agreements or metaphorical handshake.

“We’re trying to make it so everything is fair and that the playing field works for everyone,” said Harris, “and that’s how we’re trying to handle things now.”

She encouraged local business owners to read the city’s sign ordinance online.

“It’s not a thrilling read. It’s confusing, but it’s an ordinance,” said Harris. “They’re not meant to be fun.”

She is also looking forward to the city’s ongoing comprehensive plan process, which involves the future of the city.

“It’s very exciting the changes we can bring out and the utilization of properties within the downtown district,” said Harris.

To read the full sign ordinance, see Chapter 24 at https://library.municode.com/tx/taylor/codes/code_of_ordinances.

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