Business owners and residents at Thursday's Sign Ordinance Task Force Meeting in the Government Square in downtown Albany
ALBANY, GA (WALB) -
Some Albany business owners want the city to ease sign restrictions, especially when it comes to electronic signs. The city formed a Sign Ordinance Task Force to consider changes to the rules. Thursday, they got input from business owners.
The changing messages that blink or scroll across screens are becoming more common. Some business owners say they're good for business.
"Businesses in town ought to have an option to use different types of signs," said Jay Short, Small Business Owner.
Right now, the use of electronic billboards in Albany is limited. "There are some commercial areas where they would be good advertising, where they're currently not allowed," said Paul Forgey, Dir. Planning & Development for Albany and Dougherty County.
Planners say multi-message signs can become overwhelming and may even pose hazards to those behind the wheel. "There have been lots of studies done to show that they are distracting to drivers, and we want to balance the owner's ability to advertise with the public's ability to be safe," said Forgey.
The city only allows 75 of the smaller multi-message signs, and limits large digital billboards to 8. Companies that want to put up an electronic sign must take down two and a half traditional billboards.
"Any time you have an ordinance like this, there are a lot of gray areas and all we ask is just some common sense," said Short. Jay Short doesn't have an electronic sign for his business, but worries existing ordinances will force him to take down the historic rooftop sign on his store.
"Because of the size of our business and where it's located and regulations, we will not be able to put up a big enough sign to replace that to really help us with our business." Planners plan to work with business owners to find more suitable regulations.
The task force will hold two more meetings to get feedback from residents and business owners before passing their suggestions to the planning commission which will make adjustments and make a recommendation to city commissioners.