Planners, public work together

Published 9:38 pm Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Finally, after many months of complaints and discussions, a new set of rules has been proposed to govern the signs, banners and other outdoor advertising devices that businesses are allowed to use to promote themselves. On Tuesday, the Planning Commission gave a green light to a host of changes to Suffolk’s business-unfriendly sign ordinance.

The existing law is too strict in its limits, constraining businesses too rigidly in their ability to erect temporary banners, flags and similar advertising pieces. Some owners of businesses within Suffolk have claimed that it was also subject to spotty enforcement, resulting in fines against some establishments, while others seemed to skate by with apparent violations.

Among other things, the proposed rules affirmed by the Planning Commission would allow some banners to be hung permanently with a special permit, extend the time allowed for the display of special events signs, allow decorative flags and corporate flags and relax the guidelines for signs advertising residential developments.

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All of those proposed changes are welcome. Even better, all of them came after the city received input from business owners and developers during a series of public input sessions held prior to Tuesday’s Planning Commission meeting.

The proposal marks a fine compromise between the needs of Suffolk’s business community and the desire by city officials to limit ostentatious advertising displays in commercial and residential areas of the city.

It’s heartening to see the two groups work together.