Lee County business signs under debate

Many ideas for the sign ordinance have been suggested from having no billboards to having no illuminated signs

The sign ordinance doesn't seem to be reaching an end just yet. It has been discussed for over eight months. Each time Lee County Commissioners meet, there just seem to be more questions that take the debate further away from an answer.

Local business owners are not happy with the proposed Lee County sign ordinance.

"They're going overboard with it," says Jack Fore with Leesburg Auto Parts.

Many ideas have been suggested from having no billboards to having no illuminated signs to how often multi message signs can show a new display. It was also suggested previously that signs must be less than 100 square feet.

"We seem to encounter difficulties because everyone has an idea of what the sign ordinance should be," says Lee County Chairman Ed Duffy.

The planning commission originally wanted to regulate what messages signs can have. That was found unconstitutional. Now they want to regulate zoning and sign size.

Some business say by regulating how a store advertises with signs will not help to strengthen their businesses. Many who spoke at the meeting say commissioners are trying to over regulate. Others say the commission is keeping small business owners in the dark.

"If you were trying to get something for the good of the community, wouldn't you try to get the people that's going to be regulated to get involved?" says Fore.

Multiple business owners at the Sept. 14 meeting decided to take initiative and bring their ideas to the table. Commissioners say they think they're all great ideas.

"We're supposed to vote in two weeks to approve the sign ordinance but we've had four or five citizens come forward tonight with other recommendations," says Duffy.

So will this eight-month long debate ever end?

"Eventually we will have closure, but we just want to make sure that it's the right thing for Lee County," says Duffy.

Lee County Commissioners are supposed to vote on the sign ordinance at their Sept. 28 meeting, but they say it could be tabled yet again. For more information on that meeting, visit their website here.