PTC Planning Commission nixes ban on ‘walking’ ad signs

Tue, 07/14/2009 - 4:22pm
By: John Munford

A proposal to ban businesses from taking to Peachtree City’s roadsides with employees holding promotional signs met with resistance from the city’s Planning Commission Monday night.

The commission voted down the proposed ordinance 5-0, suggesting instead that the city work with local businesses to develop restrictions to keep the issue in check.

Among the suggestions were a limit on the number of days a business can use “walking signs,” how far the sign holders must stand back from the road and perhaps standards for the quality of the sign.

The proposed ban will be considered by the City Council at its meeting Thursday night, but there’s a possibility the commission may get its wish to have the ordinance reviewed in a workshop or other format, said interim Community Development Director David Rast.

The ban would allow costumed mascots to be seen alongside the city’s highways and roads, but they would not be allowed to display a sign of any kind. Under the proposed ordinance the city would not regulate the content or design of the costume.

Currently the city requires sign holders working along roads to get a solicitor’s permit from the police department, which includes a fee and a criminal background check.

Planning Commissioner Larry Sussberg thinks he has a pretty good idea why local businesses are taking to the sides of city highways to promote their businesses with hand-held signs, often toted by costumed personnel.

Sussberg, who himself is a small business owner in the city, said the emerging custom is “maybe a backlash” to the city’s restrictive sign policies.

Debbie Sanders, owner of the women’s fitness center Curves, said her handheld signs along the road get results. Over three days recently she had 16 people come in to her business when she employed someone to stand alongside the road holding a sign advertising her business.

“It’s going to make a difference for me this summer if we make it or break it,” Sanders said.

Sanders said she also is going to open a nearby restaurant and she wants to use a costumed mascot with a sign to showcase its location.

“I need to have that as an available tool in my arsenal to keep the business open,” Sanders said. “Plus I like the fact we help people who can’t get a full-time job right now because of the economy. I feel like I do them a favor.”

The ordinance that proposes the ban was developed in conjunction with the city attorney and at the request of the City Council, Rast noted.

Several local business owners agreed they would be OK with regulations on walking signs. They also said the walking signs were necessary to draw attention to their businesses.

Tim Eagleson, who owns a company that organizes outdoor walking sign campaigns for local subdivisions, said safety of his employees is a top priority.

Eagleson pointed to a group of more than 10 employees who came to the meeting with him, noting that the sign ban would in essence be telling those people they can’t work in Peachtree City.

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Submitted by Kim Hunter on Tue, 07/14/2009 - 8:58pm.

Peachtree City is "known" all over for their sign ordinance. Welcome to PTC. It has been like this for as long as I can remember, but somewhat relaxed with businesses today. The city was built on this vision and it needs to continue in that direction. Don't try to open a business now or those w/in the last 3 yrs(if you are hanging in there-congrats... If we lose the strict sign ordinance, next we lose the "Village" concept...WELCOME TO PTC, JUST LIKE ANY OTHER CITY!

Submitted by 1ZILLA1 on Tue, 07/14/2009 - 5:09pm.

This is a good opportunity for PTC to segue into a scene from a bazaar in Istanbul. Other counties including Fulton disallow this practice. I am sure the likes of Chick-filet cows and other mascots is warm & fuzzy now. Just wait til the genie is out of the box !

Submitted by Bonkers on Tue, 07/14/2009 - 5:18pm.

Yes, and one can not walk 10 feet in Istanbul without having a "prayer rug" salesman hit on you! I guess here they would be selling Bulldog Hedges!

I now, I have a couple of those rugs! You can get them for whatever you offer---first it is $6, then $3, then when you walk----"make an offer." fifty cents each will do it.
They are all stolen anyway.

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