Local News

City Seeks Relief Of 'Visual Clutter' On Raleigh Streets

Posted April 8, 2005

— The city of Raleigh is gearing up for a crackdown on temporary signs in public right-of-ways.

"It's not aesthetically pleasing," says Raleigh Council Member Thomas Crowder.

Crowder led a push to get a temporary sign ordinance that is already on the books enforced.

"As I understand it," Crowder says, "a previous council informally gave a nod that it was OK to have homebuilder signs on the weekend, and of course the ordinance doesn't allow any anytime."

Crowder believes the exception led to excessive signs on street corners throughout Raleigh.

This week, the City Council signed off on a plan to enforce the ordinance every day of the week.

For the next 60 days, city officials will let people know about the new enforcement. After that period, inspectors will remove signs and fine violators of the ordinance.

Homebuilders and business owners say they are not happy.

Lawrence Burbige, of Ultimate Auto Body Center, thinks losing the signs could affect business.

"If it's done nicely, it shouldn't hurt anything," Burbige says. "If you want to get your business out there, you have to advertise somehow."

Taralyn Lightner, of the Raleigh Regional Association of Realtors, says her organization supports the ban. It believes that all of the advertising has a negative effect on how people view the city.

"They thought it was really important that the city get cleaned up," Lightner says. "And if our industry is suffering from it, then we will go back to council and ask for some relief."

For now, Crowder says he is seeking relief from what he calls "visual clutter."

The initial penalty for violating the temporary sign ordinance is $100. It increases to $500 per day if the violation continues.

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