OUR VIEWS: Let the signs flash

May 14, 2012


The existing ordinance does not allow for flashing signs of any kind. Those located at Wesco, McDonald’s and Admiral Gas on Savidge Street predate the 2008 ordinance that bans them in the zoning district.

Reasons supporting this ordinance suggest that the flashing signs might cause a distraction to those driving past the businesses, and will cause the downtown area to look cluttered. Both of these reasons are weak, and council should reconsider its position.

A sign is often a valuable marketing tool to those in business. By limiting businesses to a certain size or kind of sign, council is prohibiting some from exercising their creative freedom, and ultimately could have an adverse effect on economic development in the village.

The stretch of road from Ace Hardware to Old Boys’ Brewhouse is posted at 30 mph, and flashing signs along it shouldn’t create hazardous driving conditions for motorists. With no more businesses than those that currently exist along Savidge Street — and considering the overall geographic size of the area — excessive sign clutter shouldn’t be a concern, either.

It’s difficult enough to conduct business these days without government imposing unnecessary ordinances that make it even more challenging to prosper. Reasonable restrictions are understandable, but to ban electronic signage altogether is not the answer.



Many of what appear to be protective measures on the surface, drive private investment in our communities down. After hiring consultants to "fix" a minor problem, a boiler plate set of ordinances is voted in with good intentions. Very few citizens follow the action and business owners are left to cope with hundreds of pages of sometimes draconian regulation. Larger businesses with more assets & or cash flow are sometimes able to overcome the bureaucracy by overwhelming legal force while small & startup businesses are rarely able to obtain even minor concessions.
Some of the safety issues argued for in sign restrictions are no doubt valid. Trying to protect the innocent from the stupidity of a few has long proven to be an expensive exercise in futility. In this case, the expense is to the small business sector.

Help the helpless, slap the stupid.


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