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City council to vote on new sign regulations
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The Conyers City Council is expected to vote on an updated sign ordinance Wednesday after postponing a decision last month in response to opposition voiced by local business owners who feel the ordinance is too restrictive and ambiguous. 

The community development committee charged with overseeing revisions suggested by city planners met this week to revise some of the new guidelines before the ordinance is again considered for approval by the council. While all existing signs previously permitted in the city will not be affected, the updated ordinance addresses issues such as lighting and size regulations not previously addressed by the sign ordinance. 

"The city's sign ordinance is actually less stringent than the county's," City Planning Director Marvin Flanigan said this week. He said the city has worked for months to update the ordinance to establish a uniform code throughout the city.

However, some local business owners who spoke during the first public hearing for the updated ordinance last month feel the ordinance will create a hardship for existing business owners. David Shipp, owner of Puritan Cleaners on West Avenue, has been particularly vocal about the constraints he feels the ordinance places on his business. 

"The ordinance is too restrictive on businesses and it would continue to erode the business environment in the city of Conyers," Shipp said. "One thing is business vehicles cannot be parked close to the road where they can be seen. It makes it so that a lot of signs that are currently used would be nonconforming.  It gives sole discretion to the city manager and they could be removed at will."

The updated ordinance up for approval by the city council includes the following additions:

- A nonconforming sign currently in existence can remain but cannot be enlarged, altered, modified, improved or rebuilt unless is it conforms to the new standards laid out in the sign ordinance, but it can be repaired to maintain safety and appearance. 

-The city manager will periodically inspect permanent and temporary signs to determine conformity with the ordinance and issue removal of unsafe and non-conforming signage. Owners will have 30 days to correct or remove the sign after receiving written notice of a violation of the sign ordinance. Notification will be sent by certified mail. The city manager can remove any dangerous or defective signs in the case of an emergency.

- No signs can have blinking, flashing, fluctuating or computerized lights. 

- Business owners who advertise on vehicles must park within 50 feet of the business and must park in a legal parking space associated with that business. 

The city council meeting will be held Wednesday, Aug. 7, 7 p.m., 1194 Scott Street, on the second floor in the city council chambers, and is open to the public and to public comment.