Sign Task Force to be established - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Sign Task Force to be established

By Karen Cohilas - bio | email

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - After an outcry from business owners over the new sign ordinance, Albany city commissioners are establishing a sign task force. They talked about a moratorium on enforcement of the ordinance. Instead, they decided to form a group including people most impacted by the ordinance. They'll meet with city leaders to discuss their complaints and suggest ways to make the ordinance more business friendly.

Slappey Boulevard is one of the major thoroughfares in Albany. It's where Gary Willis used to use lots of fanfare to attract business at Mr. Klean Kars. But not anymore, thanks to a new sign ordinance.

He said, "We're hurting. this is just not about me. This is about every business in town."

He and a group of business owners attended a meeting with city officials last week to air their concerns about the sign ordinance and how it was hurting businesses like his, since signs are vital to his business survival.  He said, "Oh it's very important. Signs, banners, our streamers that we had. It's an eye catcher."

Commissioner Roger Marietta initially wanted to place a six month moratorium on enforcement of the ordinance. Instead today he proposed forming a task force with those business owners to work out kinks.

He said, "You're going to have bugs in an ordinance and because they weren't enforced, we didn't know there were bugs." But now that they do, Marietta says it is the commission's responsibility to flush them out.

"We need to make sure in everything we do, to be a business friendly city and that way we can grow the city and have a good economy," he said.

And that's good news for Willis.  He said, "I think it's great that they've finally decided to include the people that the sign ordinance affects instead of just having the people that's running the city decide what's best for us."

A sign that maybe everyone can come to an agreement on the ordinance. The task force will come back before the city commission in about 60-days with recommended changes to the sign ordinance.

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