CONYERS - Planners may have granted a little wiggle room in the past disputed commercial sign ordinance, but the Rockdale County business community seems to think the lax in the law still isn't enough.
The proposed temporary commercial sign ordinance extends permit validity to 30 consecutive days and the maximum allowable banner size increased from 24 square feet to 50 square feet.
But Dick Fleming of Super 1 Trailer Sales said he was still disappointed in the new amendments.
"Because the business where we are, a 50-foot sign doesn't help us at all," Fleming said, describing how his Iris Drive business sits low on the road and large signs are needed to effectively market. "So to double that to 50 square feet doesn't help. It doesn't help at all."
The proposed ordinance draft made it through the first read of the Rockdale County Board of Commissioners Tuesday, but can still be changed before it officially goes in effect after the second read.
"We'd like to see something that comes pretty close to what the city has," Fleming said. "Because it seems the city can do anything they want to do, almost."
Signs can be bigger and stay up longer under Conyers' ordinances.
Unequal sign ordinances between the city and the county is not a concern for all local businesses, explained executive director of the Conyers/Rockdale County Chamber of Commerce Fred Boscarino. But the Chamber has been approached by enough of its members to take notice.
"Smaller businesses, without very deep pockets, have more difficulty in competing with printed circulars, and rely more on line-of-sight ads such as banners," Boscarino said.
Boscarino also wanted to see businesses with similar privileges as those in the city, but admitted the need for some government regulation to avoid "potentially unintentionally allowing a forest of banners."
"That hasn't occurred within the city to my knowledge, nor in surrounding counties, so I feel that the changes should move on while there is still the opportunity for some businesses to remain viable," Boscarino said.
The outcry from local businesses is "help us during this economy," according to Fleming.
"It's been a nightmare for us to try and keep money flowing in our business," Fleming said.
Fleming, who fell victim to restrictive ordinance in the past, explained he noticed business drop when he was forced to remove the banner that was out of regulation.
"These are perilous times for small business," Boscarino said, calling business the county's financial backbone. "Survival may be at stake for some on this issue."
Referencing the "many times," since he has been before government bodies, Fleming was frustrated how officials are working at a "snail pace."
"Look where we are. We still don't have anything in place," Fleming said.
Fleming added the temporary commercial sign ordinance should be individualized to certain types of businesses, acknowledging the different needs of the markets.
The Conyers/Rockdale County Planning Commission could not conduct business at its regular meeting Thursday for lack of a quorum. Chairman Maury Wilson and planning commissioner Tom Harrison were the only two board members present.
The next meeting will be Oct. 8.