DERRY — A downtown convenience store got the OK from zoning officials to install a new sign that gives customers the latest gas prices.
The Zoning Board voted, 3-2, to grant a variance to Cumberland Farms to install a “Smart Pay” alternator within an existing sign at its 22 East Broadway location.
The approval Feb. 20 paves the way for the convenience store to offer price changes every eight seconds for customers who are part of a store membership to save money on gas.
Carolyn Parker represented Cumberland Farms and said the new display would be located within an existing 3-by-8-foot LED sign in front of the store.
The business has been a Broadway staple for 17 years, Parker said. The new display shows gas price changes within the existing sign.
Members of the gas club would be able to get their gas for the price on the sign.
“We only wish to change the way they display the price of gas,” Parker said.
She said there would be no decrease in any neighboring property values because of the new display.
Some zoning officials said the flashing gas price display might distract pedestrians or motorists driving through town.
“The flash is a distraction in a high pedestrian area,” Zoning Board member Lynn Perkins said. “That is the only pressing concern I would have, that flashing distraction for people going by. When you start having flashing signs, it would look a little like Las Vegas.”
The town recently updated its sign ordinance and this plan falls under the old rules, code enforcement officer Bob Mackey said. “Old sign rules have changed,” Mackey said.
He said the new rules do allow for electronic flashing signs like this one, but only in certain areas of town.
“This still constitutes an electronic message sign and requires a variance,” Mackey said. “It’s technically not allowed in this district. That’s why they are here.”