City again discusses sign limits

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, December 18, 2001

[12/18/01]Renewed discussions on private signs were on the agenda for Vicksburg officials Monday.

The Mayor and Alderman talked about changing the zoning code to ban most temporary signs and banners. The board also authorized a hearing to take public comment on the idea. No date or time were set.

Anne Daigle, community planner for the city, said the code is still being adjusted, but will be ready for public inspection at the hearing when one is held. Targeted will be banners and posters.

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“Signs are necessary and we need good signs,” Daigle said. “However, when there is a proliferation of signs nobody sees them.”

Mayor Laurence Leyens began a crusade against temporary signs two months ago when he called on local business owners to voluntarily remove them. He said that purging the town of certain types of signs would also help clean up the city’s appearance, a main focus of the new administration.

“I think this will be the right thing to do,” Leyens said.

Among signs that will be made illegal under the proposed ordinance are portable signs, signs placed on wooden stakes and banners not made of weather-proof material. Real estate signs and signs for construction sites or developments will be allowed.

It is already illegal to place signs on utility poles, in public rights of way or anywhere that obstructs traffic. Those laws are rarely enforced.

The new proposal would also limit the amount of time and how often a business can use temporary banners for sales or other special events. Certain exceptions will be written into the code, but will require approval from the city.

“The whole point in this is to create some form of unity so that when someone wants to advertise they will get the message out,” Daigle said.

After the proposal is presented at the public hearing, it will be up to the city board to adopt the ordinance. Thirty days later, the new regulations will go into effect.

In other matters the board:

Approved interlocal agreements for ambulance service outside the municipal limits, joint funding of the 911 dispatch center and assessment and collections of taxes. The agreements had been negotiated between the city and the Warren County supervisors since Oct. 1, when they were due to take effect. Last week, city officials and supervisors met for the second time and worked out funding for the rest of this fiscal year.

Upheld the termination of Ronald Roach, a city police officer, for conduct unbecoming an officer. A hearing has been set before the Vicksburg Civil Service Commission for 1 p.m. Jan. 9, at City Hall Annex.

Presented a certificate of recognition to the employees of the purchasing department.

Received bids for tree removal and land clearing along Washington Street near the Louisiana Circle.

Awarded a bid to clean a dump site in the 300 block of Adams Street.

Tabled a request by the Central Mississippi Procurement Center Board of Directors for continued membership.

Tabled bylaw changes and general structuring of the Convention Center advisory board.

Approved a request for a $589 ad in The Vicksburg Post for a special Christmas section.

Approved a $250 ad in the Vicksburg High School baseball team 2002 program.

Approved a $200 ad for a WQBC radio family program.

Authorized the housing inspector to cut and clean six lots in the city and to demolish and clean seven structures.

Authorized advertising for bids to clean up a dump site in the 500 block of Webb Street.

The city board will meet again at 10 a.m. Dec. 26 at City Hall Annex.