CHIPLEY - If you've noticed your sign missing, City of Chipley may know what happened to it: code enforcement has enforced Chapter 15 of the city code which regulates sign placement.
Chipley City Council discussed and revisited the ordinance at Thursday's workshop. Of 40 code enforcement violations in July, 25 cases were for signage. Officials are seeking individuals to serve on a committee that will help guide policy for an updated ordinance.
"Temporary signs can be used on a short-term basis; now 'short-term' to you may mean something entirely different than it does to me," said Mayor John Sasser.
The ordinance states temporary signage is prohibited unless it is posted under the following circumstances: to indicate an owner/agent is actively attempting to sell, rent or lease property on which the sign is located; to indicate the grand opening of a business or activity; to identify construction in progress; to indicate the existence of a new business or business in a new location; or to advertise a special event.
According to City Administrator Dan Miner, the conversation surrounding signage came up when a fast-food restaurant requested to place temporary signs that were outside of city code. When the City refused the request, the restaurant pointed to several other businesses that were also out of compliance. The issue is that business would like to advertise their products using temporary signage, which is against city code.
The code, according to officials, is aimed toward safety and to maintain an aesthetically please city.
Another part of the discussion at the workshop centered on the open-endedness of parts of the ordinance, and confronted the definition of how long is "temporary" or short-term sign and when is a sign a considered a work of art.
On art, Sasser expressly defended the mural painted on the side of Piggly Wiggly Grocery store. And, according to the drafted ordinance, it would be exempted from violation. However, other advertisements that aren't as popular, but could be considered an art form by some, were Chief Scott Thompson's concern.
"What if a business at one of the main entrances of Chipley puts up a sign and say it's a work of art - and it's very large, grotesque and distracting to me or to you," Thompson said. "Under this, it's exempt."
After a thorough discussion, including input from residents and business owners in the audience, the council decided Thursday to advertise for individuals interested in serving on a committee that will help update the ordinance to meet the needs of business owners and the general public. Miner said the advertisement will go out before the end of the month.
For questions or concerns, contact code enforcement at 850-638-6303.