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Raleigh holds off on controversial changes to sign law

Posted April 1, 2014

Dozens of business owners packed a Raleigh City Council meeting on April 1, 2014, to speak against proposed changes to the city's sign ordinance.

— Raleigh City Council delayed action Tuesday on a controversial measure to restrict signs in store windows and on vehicles after dozens of business owners packed a council meeting to speak against it.

Council members agreed to send the ordinance back to the Planning Commission for further review. They also asked the commission to consider creating a task force to study the issue.

The proposal, which surfaced after several people complained about an electronic billboard in the window of a real estate office on Glenwood South, could come back before council in two weeks.

The new sign regulations would be based on the size of the business. The bigger the business, the more opportunities owners would have to hang signs.

Opponents say the changes would be too restrictive and hurt local businesses more than national retailers. North Hills developer John Kane was among those who spoke against the changes Tuesday.

Councilman John Odom, who is also a member of the Greater Raleigh Merchants Association and Shop Local Raleigh, has been an outspoken critic of the city’s sign ordinance. He sent an email to constituents urging them to get involved.

“This change is one that will not help small businesses or any business in Raleigh but will hinder growth, visual appearance and creativity among our business community,” Odom said in the message.

Councilman Bonner Gaylord said he's heard complaints that getting a sign permit "is more painful and takes longer than getting a liquor license."


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  • Dana McCall Apr 2, 2014
    user avatar

    The proposed sign ordinance would cause this kind of chaos:

  • Fanny Chmelar Apr 2, 2014
    user avatar

    Remember when they tried to make Mellow Mushroom take down their mushrooms because they considered them "signs". What a joke. I'm glad that quirky mushroom art got to stay at the corner of Peace and Glenwood - it's unique!

  • frosty Apr 2, 2014

    View quoted thread

    Cary's sign laws make it very hard to find stores and locations for which you are looking making it dangerous as distracted drivers are trying to find a store with no sign.

    I think the state DOT should support the "town" of Cary's view on signs by removing all road signs saying anything about Cary and maybe even remove it from state road maps if you want to follow Cary's ideal of lack of clutter.

    There should be a balance on signs but Cary and balanced are not usually found in the same sentence.

  • sunshine1040 Apr 1, 2014

    Size of the sign is not the problem it is the brightness of some signs even some windows sun hits at right angle and it can blind drivers. Sign cannot be bigger then business because then owner would be paying rent for space for signs.

  • Forthe Newssite Apr 1, 2014
    user avatar

    "Cary has shown that its perfectly possible to have a thriving town with out the tacky garbage businesses call advertising."

    We don't live in Cary, nor do many of us want to! The sign laws are perfectly fine as they are. I agree with the poster who said don't like-don't look ;)

  • Mom on Call Apr 1, 2014

    Anyone complaining about this can thank the CityGate folks for that blinding eyesore on Glenwood and Peace!

  • Knightwolf Apr 1, 2014

    dealing with Raleigh's "Sign Department" is unpleasant at best. :(

  • rduwxboy Apr 1, 2014

    * I meant Glenwood and Peace, not Boylan.

  • rduwxboy Apr 1, 2014

    Yet another reason Raleigh ranks as a top place to live in America. Our streets aren't cluttered with eyesore signs for every single business in every single strip mall. The City had to look into doing this because of the woman on Boylan Avenue who put a "sign" in her front windows with bright flashing lights, changing animation and strobe lights there were blinding drivers at night. To those who say they don't need rules, here is 1 example of why they do need rules. Nonetheless, I think they should be as lenient as possible and allow businesses to use their windows as they see fit as long as they do not put the public in danger.

  • Denise Martin Apr 1, 2014
    user avatar

    Is there no part of our lives that the gov't in one form or another feels like they have to regulate and restrict.

    Seems to me it's just so they can keep earning a salary and we have all the laws we need, not the nosensical ones that encroach on our lives.

    Hardly seems right that just because my business is larger that the guy next door I can put up a bigger sigh. GEEZ,

    If they're going to waste time and money at least make it the same for all.