Local News

Talk of more changes to sign ordinance concerns Raleigh businesses

Posted June 30, 2014

— Tucked away in the corner of a strip mall on Wake Forest Road in Raleigh is Brown's Clock Shop, which Steve Brown has run for more than two decades.

"We've been here for 23 years, and we'd like to be here for as long as we can," said Brown.

He's worried, though, that proposed changes to Raleigh's sign ordinance could hurt his business.

The controversial measure, which the City Council is scheduled to hear about Tuesday, would prohibit Brown from parking this van with his company's advertising by the side of the road – something he's been doing since he opened for business.

"I want as many people as I can to know where I am located," he said. "The fewer people who know where I am, the worse my business is going to do.”

Rodney Swink with the Raleigh Planning Commission says the proposed amendment to city code is the result of complaints the city has received about businesses that use their vehicles as a way to circumvent the sign ordinance.

"If you have a vehicle with signage on it, and it's parked purely to attract attention, then that would be a sign, and that would be prohibited," Swink said.

In such cases, vehicles would have to be parked in the back of the business or as close as possible to the main entrance.

Large businesses with a fleet of vehicles and small businesses that use vehicles for delivery and other daily business would be exempt.

Jennifer Martin is the executive director of Shop Local Raleigh, which represents more than 400 small businesses in Wake County.

She says a change to the ordinance would have a great impact on small businesses, which put back into the economy 51 cents of every dollar they make.

"This area is fast-growing, and with adding all these restrictions to small businesses, it makes us wonder if we are restricting those who want to do business in the city of Raleigh," she said.

The City Council won't vote on the matter Tuesday. It will first hold a public hearing in August.

It's not the only proposed change to the sign ordinance. In April, the City Council delayed action on another measure that would regulate signs in store windows based on the window size.


This story is closed for comments.

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  • sinenomine Jul 1, 2014

    Unless I misunderstand completely, TROJANDNC2, I don't think the city is trying to regulate signs on the sides of vehicles per se. I think that the issue being studied is the "problem" (if that's the right word) of a company's name being posted on the side of a truck and then the truck being parked near the street and itself becoming, effectively, a stationary sign.

    We have all seen examples of this around town. I personally know of one vehicular sign in particular at a business on Falls of the Neuse Road which, though the vehicle may be operable now, was not at the time it was originally used as a sign.

    The question of signs on buses is, I believe, different. The signs on Raleigh buses are ugly and add to visual clutter but at least the vehicles they are on are mobile.

  • VickLo Jul 1, 2014

    Wake1 - you are too funny.

    This is simple. whether it is a sign on your (YOUR) building or a sign on your (YOUR) vehicle... How you decorate your building or vehicle is your (YOUR) business as long as it isn't profane or indecent.

    This is just another instance of Big Brother creeping into your shorts and taking away what is yours. Plain and simple.

  • trojandnc2 Jul 1, 2014

    Raleigh is becoming dumber and dumber when it comes to this issue. First, they want to dictate what a business but on their windows and now what they put on their vehicles!

    Do they not realize every vehicle that has a Manufacturer logo (Ford, Toytoa, Mercedes etc.) or a sticker from a dealer, school, politician (even from a decade ago), a real estate agency, or a place (OBX, EI) are also advertising for somebody or something? What about Church buses and vans? What about the CAT bus with advertising on the side?

    These companies are trying to advertise to bring in business in order to generate revenue in order to pay employees and pay taxes!

    Raleigh, either you want business in the Capital City or you don't! Choose wisely.

  • exposure102 Jul 1, 2014

    Here's a novel idea. Let's get rid of all signage and advertising. It's all propaganda anyway. No one company should be able to influence customers over another company on the fact it has more money to spend on advertising. No billboards, no commercials, no flyers in the mail. Just businesses that occupy a building and the customers have to do their own research to see if you're really a stand-up business, not just because you have the nicest or biggest sign on the planet.

  • archmaker Jul 1, 2014

    leave the sign ordinances alone. they are bad enough the way they are.

  • winemaker81 Jul 1, 2014

    View quoted thread

    Think about what you said for just a minute, and remember that politicians are involved. Common sense is not included in the situation.

  • Forthe Newssite Jul 1, 2014
    user avatar

    View quoted thread

    EXACTLY, and he shouldn't have to drive it every day. He's been there for more than two decades but government feels they just HAVE to get involved---sad

  • Wake1 Jul 1, 2014

    I'm sure all can come to a common sense resolution on this. It should not be an all-or-nothing proposition.

  • Terry Watts Jul 1, 2014
    user avatar

    "small businesses that use vehicles for delivery"

    Let's see the language of the ordinance change... It could be that all the guy has to do is drive the truck back and forth to work (company vehicle) and then he can park it anywhere he wants. The law should prohibit signs, not displays on the sides of company vehicles.

  • Lightfoot3 Jul 1, 2014

    It's pretty obvious he's using the truck as a sign, and as a way to get around current ordinances.