Talk of more changes to sign ordinance concerns Raleigh businesses
Posted June 30, 2014
Raleigh, N.C. — 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.