Local News

Raleigh extends sign crackdown to billboards on wheels

Posted August 10, 2012

— Zoning inspectors have threatened to fine the owner of a north Raleigh magic shop $500 a day unless he makes a truck that advertises his business disappear.

The Magic Corner is in the small Holly Tree Harrispark shopping center along a crowded stretch of Capital Boulevard, and owner John Ferrante said it's difficult for people to know his store is even there because it's not listed on the center's sign and the store is on the side of the center and can't be seen from the busy thoroughfare.

To raise the Magic Corner's visibility, Ferrante has parked a box truck with the store's name on the side in front of the shopping center so it can be seen by passing vehicles.

Raleigh inspectors claim the truck is an illegal sign because it remains in the parking lot solely to promote Ferrante's store. They say it would be different if it were regularly used in his business.

He argues, however, that the truck is legally registered and that he does drive it occasionally.

Inspectors said they have seen a proliferation of box trucks in Raleigh masquerading as signs and are trying to cut down on clutter, but Ferrante countered that it's not the city's place to regulate taste.

Magic Corner truck Raleigh seeks to put brakes on trucks used as signs

"Can I tell you (that) you can't paint your vehicle a horrible shade of orange because it's unattractive? Please don't park it anywhere near the road. It's a horrible shade of orange. It's awful. It's tacky. You're not allowed to do that in the city of Raleigh," he said. "There has to be a limit. I do have the right of free speech."

The crackdown on signs on four wheels is the latest flap over Raleigh's sign ordinance. City officials appointed a special task force last year to tackle sign issues, and some more flexible rules for businesses were adopted. They didn't address truck-type signs, however.

Ferrante said he wants inspectors to provide a better explanation of what rule he's violating. Zoning officials said they plan to start levying fines if he doesn't move the truck.

"Absolutely it would put me out of business. I can't afford anything like that," he said. "I'm struggling to get along. Small businesses are already in trouble."


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  • oleguy Aug 10, 2012

    I got a sign for yah.. there I Q

  • djofraleigh Aug 10, 2012

    Is Raleigh going to ban sagging pants like that little town did? This is a fun subject.

    Remember, Raleigh government knows best.

    I'd support NO signs anywhere of any kind for commercial purposes, except Open and Closed, and I'd force those to be used.

  • djofraleigh Aug 10, 2012

    When will they every realize that McDonald's lures kids to get their parents to eat there using toys, and movies lure people to watch movies so they can sell sodas and buttered popcorn. What do they sell at ballgames,,,are dogs and beer junk food.

    Then, LOOK at the FOOD at the State Fair! And that neon wonder sign on Hillsborough and Blue Ridge rd.

  • djofraleigh Aug 10, 2012

    Don't use cellphones.

    Don't get 16 oz sodas, but Magnum beer is OK.

    Don't let Chic-fil-a in town.

    Don't smoke inside or outside.

    There's leash laws for dogs, and cats...someone tell those cats.

    Water you lawns only on odd days, but let's let all the new apartments to be built now, before water supply is ready.

    Let's move the fireworks downtown among the tall buildings and charge $5 for parking instead of using the very fitting fairgrounds.

    Let's have light rail on the rich side of town, and not go into the poorer southeast Raleigh with it. Live in one town and work in another, Chapel Hill and Charlotte will not be too far.

  • djofraleigh Aug 10, 2012

    CAT busses and even sewer trucks sport messages. Unless all trucks and cars with lettering are banned, then licensed vehicles can park where they please.

    Get rid of those political signs now that the election is over.

    Bumper stickers are bad, as are the yard signs of free speech, and do those people think other people are going to vote for someone because they are? Who do they think they are?

  • archmaker Aug 10, 2012

    raleigh tried to call mellow mushroom's mushroom sculptures on peace street signs when they moved in, but they are still there.

    they also tried to have lulu.com remove the tractor sign off the roof when they moved into the old nc equipment building on hillsborogh street, but it's still there.

    a beat up ford? you ain't gonna win. get your landlord to put you on the center's real sign.

    to answer the one of the previous comments about mcdonald's - you can have any "sign" you want as long as it is inside the glass. that doesn't violate the sign rules.

  • dev8me Aug 10, 2012

    there they go again... those overzealous zealots (!)

  • djofraleigh Aug 10, 2012

    The business is getting some free advertising now on WRAL via the City of Raleigh.

    I see those trucks parked everywhere. I will say that I see trucks unloading and parking in lots all over town that have to park in the lots away from the customer parking in front of the store and they park there waiting to be used, not so much for advertising.

  • TeresaBee Aug 10, 2012

    The subject might sound trivial but I live off of Six Forks Rd. in Raleigh and there are quite a few box trucks including a big red McDonald's one that are sitting by the side of the road for the sole purpose of being billboards. They makes the whole street look tacky. I agree something should be done about it even though this is not Cary.

  • miseem Aug 10, 2012

    Think it may have something to do with the arrow he has on the truck pointing to his shop?