City needs to review current sign ordinancePublished 11:39pm Saturday, September 7, 2013
Does Natchez have more laws than it can consistently enforce?
It sure seems like that some days.
The trouble isn’t with the occasional speeder on city streets, though, but with more permanent and more public law-breakers — those pesky businesses that dare to promote their own businesses.
In reality, all businesses want to promote their location and services.
But commercial and event signage is the stuff that small-town fights are often made over and Natchez has been ripe for good sign scrap for years.
The issue most often comes to a head during political seasons, but the reality is the city’s sign ordinance — and more so the haphazard enforcement of it — is a mess.
Natchez’s sign ordinance tends to be one of the most hated pieces of city code on the books. Critics will argue the whole thing should be scrapped, but that’s clearly not a wise idea.
Areas of the city need to be protected from overhead clutter, and a fair, but firm sign ordinance is the perfect answer.
Unfortunately, the current ordinance is too restrictive in some areas and a lack of city staff to enforce the code often leads to the most honest, law-abiding business owners being out-signed by their neighbors and competitors who simply ignore the law, realizing the consequences are next to nothing.
Natchez aldermen should form a task force of business people and historic preservation experts to study the current laws. That group can make a good, solid proposal that makes sense for the needs of businesses and property owners alike.