(Photo/Laura Hayes)

Shrewsbury, Massachusetts recently voted down an article that would bring new digital signage possibilities to the town. During the Shrewsbury’s Annual Town Meeting, elected representatives rejected Article 42, which would have amended bylaws pertaining to digital signage and digital message billboards within the community.

The town required a standing vote to permit more digital signage installations. But out of the 171 residents voting, 58 rejected the article, preventing it from garnering the two-thirds supermajority vote required to pass.

The main opposing arguments focused on how digital signage would impact the “quaint nature” of the town, as some expressed concerns that the streets and surrounding areas would be too bright in the evening. Others asked for more specific restrictions on such electronic displays, according to Community Advocate.

As it currently stands, digital signage is only permitted in the Town Center district. The updated article would have allowed for near town-wide electronic displays, allowing the Planning Board to approve the signage and the frequency with which it could change. Only one digital sign would have been allowed per property.

“The proposed language includes specific design standards… It’s important to know that this would not be permitted in single-family residential areas. It would primarily be looking at commercial areas and multifamily residential areas,” Director of Planning and Economic Development Christopher McGoldrick told the Community Advocate.

Local business owners were behind the introduction of the new article, and many expressed disappointment that the supermajority vote was not achieved.

“I think digital signage is the way of the future,” said Planning Board member Stephan Rodolakis at a May 2 meeting. “You drive around and you see what’s on other roads—but it’s got to be regulated. Otherwise, it’s a free-for-all.”