Denver business owner Mark Cotter of Four Season Marine Supply is concerned about the countyâ€™s sign ordinance.
Specifically, he wants the countyâ€™s planning board to consider lifting the ban on temporary signs, also known as â€œpopsicleâ€ signs.
â€œSome businesses that are located in strip malls donâ€™t have the capability to do advertising except through these portable signs,â€ he said.
Other businesses, he added, use the temporary signs throughout the N.C. 16 corridor between N.C. 150 and N.C. 73.
â€œReal estate companies, churches and even politicians can put up these signs anytime and anywhere,â€ he said. â€œIâ€™m selling something and the countyâ€™s telling me that I canâ€™t put a temporary sign on my own property.â€
Cotter will voice his concerns at a workshop of the countyâ€™s planning board which is scheduled for 3 p.m. on Thursday at the James W. Warren Citizens Center in commission chambers on the third floor.
Over the past several months, the East Lincoln Area Council has been working with zoning administrator Randy Hawkins regarding proposed changes to the countyâ€™s sign ordinance.
Members of ELAC last week saw a flyer that Cotterâ€™s been circulating throughout the Denver area.
Word of the flyer circulating amongst Denver businesses did not set well with Andrew Johnson, a member of ELAC.
â€œI was under the impression the Planning Board was OK with our changes,â€ he said. â€œThe water has now been muddied by this issue.â€
Council member Bo Moore said these 8-by-4 temporary signs pose a safety hazard for motorists.
â€œIn transportation, these types of signs are a clear traffic hazard,â€ he told the Council. â€œWe need to clean up the clutter up and down N.C. 16. We need to play by some rules.â€
According to ELAC chairman Todd Wulfhorst, the issue of temporary signs never came up while working with county officials on the ordinance.
â€œThese temporary signs were banned under the countyâ€™s current ordinance, so we didnâ€™t bring that issue up,â€ he said.
Wulfhorst added that Cotter wants to be able to put the temporary signs in front of his business on N.C. 16.
Joe Turbyfill, owner of Turbyfillâ€™s True-Value Hardware, told fellow ELAC members last week of his thoughts on Cotterâ€™s concerns.
â€œIâ€™m the only guy thatâ€™s in retail thatâ€™s on the Council,â€ he said. â€œWhat this guy is saying is that weâ€™re showing favoritism to certain types of business.â€
In an Oct. 5 Lincoln Times-News article, ELAC was beginning to work with the county planning and zoning office regarding changes to the countyâ€™s sign ordinance.
Hawkins discussed the issue of temporary signs with ELAC at that time.
â€œThe ordinance prohibits those signs that can be moved easily from one place to another,â€ he said.
In an effort to step-up compliance in the eastern end of the county, ELAC teamed with the East Lincoln Betterment Association and the Denver Area Business Association to send letters to businesses last year that were in violation of the existing ordinance.
â€œI got one of those letters, except it was from the county,â€ said Cotter. â€œI feel as a business owner, itâ€™s my right to be able to advertise specials on my own property.â€
Cotter added that his goals for circulating the flyers were twofold.
â€œFirst, itâ€™s to clarify the wording on temporary signs, because people also call them portable signs and popsicle signs,â€ he said. â€œIâ€™d like for the planning board to consider letting small business use these temporary signs.â€
He added that with big box stores coming in, â€œsmall business is going to get hurt.â€
Cotter understands that under the proposed ordinance changes, that temporary signs are still banned.
â€œSmall business is getting discriminated against,â€ he said.
by Jon Mayhew