Local News

Raleigh businesses concerned about proposed changes to city's sign rules

Posted March 1, 2014 2:50 p.m. EST
Updated March 1, 2014 11:01 p.m. EST

Raleigh city leaders are considering a proposal that would further restrict the use of signs on store windows, and some business owners believe the measure would make it more difficult for them to advertise their products and services.

— Raleigh city leaders are considering a proposal that would further restrict the use of signs in store windows, and some business owners believe the measure would make it more difficult for them to advertise their products and services. 

The proposed changes made their way to city leaders after several people complained about an electronic billboard in the window of a real estate office on Glenwood South. 

City Council member Thomas Crowder said the electronic billboard was distracting to drivers. 

"When you went by it was like the light of the sun," he said. 

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. 

Thomas Lashley, who co-owns the Leather and Wood Furniture Gallery on Glenwood Avenue with his brother, said the changes would hurt his business. 

"We're a small store trying to compete with large chains," he said. "(The) economy is slow. Everything we can get to get people in our store makes a difference for us."

Lashley said the signs in his store windows get people to stop while driving down Glenwood Avenue. 

Crowder said there are other ways to get people to visit Raleigh businesses.

"With this day and age, you have WRAL-TV, the newspaper, coupons in the mail, the Internet, there are plenty of ways to do it without advertising on the glass," Crowder said.

Lashley balked at that idea, saying his business can't compete with the budgets of bigger stores.

"We cannot compete with newspaper, television with the larger chains," he said. 

Crowder also said the proposed changes are designed to make Raleigh more attractive. 

"Our quality of life is what is very important to businesses who locate here, and it's what makes our retail community strong," he said.

Crowder also said the signs pose a safety risk if police cannot see within a business. 

The proposal is still being tweaked by the planning commission, but it will eventually go before the Raleigh City Council for a public hearing and final vote.