The Winona Board of Aldermen’s recent repeal of the city’s sign ordinance is a prime example of why it is so important to have an active business association in the City of Winona.
The city board repealed the sign ordinance at a special-called meeting last week after issues arose from the enforcement of the law, which only allows one free-standing sign for each business and the business must have a permit for that one sign.
Alderman David Ware said the current sign ordinance hindered local businesses from reaching their customers, and the city should be doing everything in its power to promote local business. However, the ordinance, which was adopted by the board in 2009, has been in place for more than a decade and has some sound regulations to prevent municipal sprawl and possible traffic hazards. Could it be more business-friendly? Absolutely. Does the city need a sign ordinance? Absolutely.
Having no sign ordinance is a recipe for disaster. Inappropriate signs will have a negative effect on the city, and multiple LED flashing signs can be dangerous to motorists.
Last week, the board of Aldermen repealed the city’s sign ordinance, however, members have not decided on what the new ordinance should entail.
If there was an active business association, the business community and the city could work in tandem to create a sound, aesthetically-pleasing beautification ordinance that will not only help grow local business but improve the appearance of the city.
Without a sign ordinance or a too-lenient a sign ordinance, Winona could begin to look like the Vegas strip, and that doesn’t really fit this community.
I’m not talking about setting up a strict beautification and building code made famous by some larger communities in Mississippi. We need simple, easy to follow rules that apply to everyone, with no variances allowed.
Every business needs to have the opportunity to promote their business, and local governments should support those efforts. However, there have to be some rules and guidelines to protect the integrity of the city, its image, and the safety of local motorists.
I suggest members of the business community speak to members of the board of aldermen and voice your opinions. They need to hear from those affected by the ordinance when working to establish a better version of the law.
Get involved. Go to a city or county meeting. Figure out how you can make a difference.