Ordinance discussed at sign workshop

December 8, 2010 • Local News

City councilors spent about three and a half hours discussing a controversial sign regulation that will likely return to [auth] the council chambers for another vote. Officials went through the proposed regulation line by line.

They tossed the majority of language that caused some residents and councilors to speak out against the rules as recently as four months ago, when the package was voted down in City Hall. Councilors will likely vote Thursday to advertise a public hearing on the rules for the January council meeting.

If approved, the updated regulation would be without much of the restrictions on people’s homes and lacking limitations on the amount of signs businesses would be allowed to display. “I just feel like we shouldn’t over-regulate people’s personal property rights,” said Councilor Jimmy Craig, who was outspoken on many of the proposed rules during the workshop. “It’s a lot more acceptable now,” he said. “(But), I want to see the final thing.” Councilor Judy Stubbs, chairwoman of the Planning and Zoning Committee, called the workshop a success.

The reason for the meeting was to give officials a chance to fully address their concerns, she said. “The fact that council really got engaged and asked some really good questions … was the whole point of the workshop,” Stubbs said.

“We got, for the first time, a feel for where the elected officials are on the issues.” Among rules that remained in the updated plan are regulations on the distance between billboards and limits on the brightness of electronic billboards.

However, a grandfather clause is part of the package and existing signs would not be affected. Proposed ordinances require six affirmative votes to pass. The council fell short of approving the rules in August, despite a 5-4 vote in favor of it. Councilor Elena Velasquez was absent from the August meeting. Councilors will meet Thursday at 7 p.m. for the council’s regular monthly meeting.

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