The Winona Board of Aldermen repealed the city’s sign ordinance after concerns were raised in the business community. All five aldermen were present for the meeting held on April 17.
In a special-called meeting of the board, Alderman David Ware informed the board about a code enforcement issue a local business had about new signs installed around Winona. The Winona Sign Ordinance, passed by the board of aldermen in January 2009, stated that businesses in the City of Winona can have one free-standing sign per business, and a permit must be obtained for that sign.
“We need to do whatever we can to help businesses,” Ware said. “We need to have an ordinance, but sometimes we need to use common sense.”
At the meeting, Ware asked about issuing a variance for the ordinance on a case-by-case basis, but City Attorney Ray Baum stated the board could either enforce the current ordinance or repeal it. Baum said the board could repeal an ordinance and pass another one on the same day, but the aldermen wanted to mull over options prior to passing another ordinance.
The board voted unanimously to repeal the city’s sign ordinance.
According to City Clerk June Williams, a recent Mississippi Supreme Court ruling about signage in a municipality, saying a sign is a sign regardless of its content, was already being discussed by city officials and how to amend the city’s sign ordinance to reflect the court’s ruling. However, the board repealed the ordinance entirely last Wednesday, and until another ordinance is passed, the city has no regulations on signage in the city.
“[The board] has got a few things we think we should have, and we will present those to Ray [Baum] for him to draw up [a new sign ordinance],” Ware said.