School Sign Proposal Draws Concerns from Residents

School officials scrap LED sign plans.

Terra Center Elementary School has dropped its plans to install a 7-foot-tall LED display sign in response to resident concerns. Instead, school officials are seeking input from the community to design a new sign for the school. 

Fairfax County removed Terra Centre's original sign to perform storm water drainage maintenance by the school. For a replacement, the school requested approval from the Burke Centre Conservancy's Architectural Review Board for a 7-foot-tall LED sign. The new sign would allow school officials to change announcements via a computer inside the school, a technological upgrade over sending someone outside to change the old marquee lettering manually.

"We weren't even sure if we had the authority to make that decision because it was on school property," said Burke Centre Conservancy Executive Director Patrick Gloyd said.  However, a title search performed by the Conservancy's attorneys showed the Architectural Review Board did indeed have jurisdiction over the type of the sign the school built.

The ARB approved the application for the new sign twice.  After the second approval, it went to the Board of Trustees for final approval.  Here however, the application encountered opposition.

Many members of the community raised concerns.  Some felt the sign was going to be too bright and distracting along the serene atmosphere that is Burke Centre Parkway. 

After community members raised objections, Terra Centre withdrew their application.  Terra Centre now is going back to the community for help with determining a sign design.  The school is involving the residents by asking for their input for the sign design that would follow the guidelines set by the Burke Centre Conservancy and also be pleasing to the community.

Terra Centre's Principal Michele Sims said the school wants to just be a "good neighbor."  She explained, "We are a community school, thus we continue to work with our community."

In response to the sign proposals, Gloyd also emphasized that the Burke Centre Conservancy is very appreciative of the school's willingness to work with them regarding the sign design.  "They have been very sensitive," Gloyd said, referring to Terra Centre's plans.


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