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Some Argue High-Rise Signs In Raleigh Amount To Visual Clutter

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RALEIGH, N.C. — It is a sign of the times in Raleigh. Plans for several new skyscrapers have the city wondering if its time to allow larger signs on buildings 17 stories or higher.

City Council member Thomas Crowder does not necessarily think bigger is better.

"I don't think we need to become a Las Vegas," he said.

Officials with the Raleigh's Planning Commission said larger signs can help identify the downtown as people drive into the city. The commission also believes the signs create a sense of place and can support economic development downtown.

Right now, 300 square feet of signage on one side of a building is the limit. The proposal is to more than double the current standards to 750 square feet.

The sign at the new Progress Energy building meets the current guidelines. Crowder said any larger, and downtown could become a giant billboard.

"Is that all we're doing here at the top of these buildings is providing advertising?" asked Crowder.

Fellow council member Philip Isley says if so, who cares?

"I feel like they have the right to advertise their investment in the community. If it's a billboard, so be it," he said.

Isley stands by lighting up new landmarks. Crowder, an architect, would rather see buildings identified for their architecture instead of by a name in lights.

A City Council committee will discuss the issue next week. A vote on the proposal could happen next month.

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