The Covington City Council is considering changes to the sign ordinance in order to clarify some of the language and reduce confusion. Campaign signs are allowed during a specific time and must meet specific size requirements. (Staff photo: Jessicah Peters)
COVINGTON — With election signs already on display around the city, the Covington City Council is taking a closer look at the sign ordinance.
Because of confusing language and misinterpretations, Councilman Chris Smith proposed that City Attorney Ed Crudup take another glance at the ordinance in order to clarify the rules for erecting signs on private and public property. The city held a work session on Tuesday to discuss the changes.
The last update the sign ordinance received was in 2011, according to City Manager Leigh Anne Knight.
Campaign signs were briefly discussed and while no changes were proposed, Smith wanted the specifics on how many signs are allowed on private property and the specific heights the signs must be.
In the current sign ordinance there is no limit on how many campaign signs can be displayed or what those signs can say on private property between when qualifying begins and Election Day; however, the signs must be no taller than 4 feet, depending on the right of way.
Councilwoman Hawnethia Williams said the sign ordinance needs to be enforced once the time period for campaign signs ends.
“We need to monitor this because people are not picking up their signs after Election Day,” Williams said.
Other discussions during the work session included allowing LED signs in the residential area. Councilman Keith Dalton said usually the lights shining outside the sign receive damage or are not maintained.
“Those lights get knocked over, then shine on the road or never work, and you can’t even see the sign,” Dalton said.
Smith agreed and said instead of having spotlights all over town, the sign ordinance should no longer prohibit internal illumination in residential districts.
Although the council agreed to allow LED lights, the sign ordinance will continue to enforce no flashing or blinking signs because those are believed to distract drivers.
The council also agreed to look at whether signs 10 feet from the right of way give drivers enough visibility when trying to pull into the roadway.
In addition to the sign ordinance, Deputy City Manager Billy Bouchillon said the council will discuss changing a part of the parking ordinance, which would allow parking in front of new developments along the U.S. Highway 278 and Ga. Highway 142 corridor if the speed limit is 45 mph or greater.
The sign and parking ordinance changes will be discussed again at the May 5 City Council meeting.