Local News

Raleigh holds off on controversial changes to sign law

Posted April 1, 2014 2:53 p.m. EDT

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."