In another sign that Greenville’s housing market is becoming more active, the Planning and Zoning Commission took time Monday to discuss what to do about signs advertising residential subdivisions.

Director of Community Development Philip Sanders asked the Commission for guidance on drafting an ordinance which would regulate where such signs could be placed and how long they could remain standing.

“We’ve never had to address this before,” Sanders said, noting that it has only been in the past two years that Greenville has seen so many new housing developments get underway.

Sanders said he was not referring to small yard signs which advertise a development and which are often placed on the sides of roads on a Friday and are removed by the next week.

Sanders explained how developers were wanting to place billboard-size signs, away from the development, in high traffic areas. The City of Greenville currently has no regulations in place to govern their placement off site from the subdivision.

“I have checked with other cities and there is no consistency on the question,” Sanders said. “I wanted to get your feeling about how we want to treat this.”

The consensus of the Commission was to allow for some signs, but with limits on the distance between the signs and rules which would govern how long the sign could be posted.

Sanders noted some cities allow the signs to be in place until 80 percent of the advertised subdivision is filled, or until there has been no sales at the subdivision for a period of time, indicating the development is no longer active.

A second potential problem regarding signs also was discussed, namely electronic signs which use flashing advertisements.

Sanders said the current regulation allows the signs, but only for those offering “public information”, such as time and temperature.

“Our ordinance is vague and it needs to be rewritten,” Sanders said, adding that three flashing signs have gone up during the past year, including the signs in front of the CVS and Walgreens pharmacies on Wesley Street.

Sanders hoped to prevent creating a driving hazard along Wesley, with untold numbers of flashing signs lining the busy street.

“We don’t want to create an overload,” he said.

The proposed regulations could deal with the content of the messages on the signs or how often they flash, Sanders said.

Commission chairman Douglas Felps said it was too late to prevent more such signs from going up, now that three are already operating.

“You have to allow them, but you have to define what they do,” Felps said.