Local News

Signs of the Times are Changing in Durham

Posted February 17, 1999

— A controversialsign ordinancein Durham is taking effect after a 10-year grace period. But some say tradition is better than change.

For some people, it's as simple as saving the cow. "Everybody likes the cow," says clerk Scott Pickett. "Even if you don't like shopping here, you still like the cow on the roof as a landmark."

But the cow is too tall for Durham's sign ordinance. If the owner of the Dairy Farm Store can get the cow declared a historic landmark, it can stay. Otherwise, it will have to be moved.

Customers are weighing the pros and cons of the unique vs. the aesthetically pleasing.

"I'm in the middle on that I think," says Durham resident Elaine Evans-Wilkins. "I think that the city should be improved aesthetically but I don't think the cow would hinder our aesthetics here in Durham County."

The city set a 16 foot height limit for signs in 1988 and it gave all businesses a 10-year grace period. The grace period is now up and while many are in compliance with the ordinance, the city is ready to crack down on businesses that are not.

"Everybody knows that it applies to everyone," says Dennis Doty of theCity Planning Department. "With the exception of the highway signs, everybody else in town has to meet the regulations so we're not picking on any one particular business, it's citywide."

Violators will be subject to fines.

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