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Raleigh business owners slam signage proposal at meeting

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A proposed new ordinance would regulate indoor signage. A proposed new ordinance would regulate indoor signage.
RALEIGH, N.C. - Some business owners in Raleigh say proposed changes to a city ordinance could cost them customers. 

Dozens filled the Architect bar in downtown Raleigh Thursday to speak out against proposed changes to a city ordinance governing signage.


Last month, the planning commission proposed a change to regulate not just outdoor signage, but displays inside windows as well.  The proposal would limit how much a window could be covered up.  The move comes in response to a bright neon sign that was placed in the window of a real estate agency on Glenwood Avenue. 

Last year, some Glenwood South neighbors complained they could see the sign from a couple of miles down the street.

City councilors John Odom and Bonner Gaylord listened on. 

Raleigh-based marketing firm The Publicus Community hosted the talk.

Proponents of the ordinance change say signs that are too bright and too large can be dangerously distracting and take away from a community's character.  Business owners at Thursday's forum say the new rules would squash creativity and hurt their abilities to attract new customers.

"We've had ads online.  We started off as an online business,"  said Raymond Malouf, owner of children's clothing store Nüvonivo. "But it's really the window that brings people into the store and it needs to be attractive.  It needs to be beautiful, almost a work of art."

"We have short people, fat people, skinny people, black people, white people, all colored people and that's how our signs should be," Louie Bowen, owner of Hughie & Louie's Costumes, Magic and More said.  "That's how we interact with our community is being colorful and different."

Odom and Gaylord said they were listening and urged the people who showed up to Thursday's meeting to also attend Raleigh's next city council meeting on Tuesday.

"It came to us by the big sign on Glenwood Avenue, and now we're going too far on the other end," Odom said.

If passed, the ordinance would also regulate signs on motor and non-motor vehicles, like taxis and rickshaws, which often rely on advertising signage to stay in business.

On Tuesday, the City Council is expected to vote on forming a stakeholder group to make further recommendations.

Derick Waller

Derick is a reporter for WNCN covering crime, education, politics and just about everything in between. He has a knack for adapting to any story and consistently delivers information quickly across multiple platforms. More>>

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