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Sunday, October 4, 2009

Local Businessman Starts Petition To Change Marianna Sign Ordinance

Thomas Bower leads effort to change existing rules
By Sid Riley

A petition is being circulated among existing businesses in Marianna in an effort to force changes to the existing sign ordinances which restrict the free choice of businesses regarding how they present their establishments to the public. Local citizen and businessman, Thomas Bower is leading
this effort.

The City Commission “tweaked” the sign ordinance last year in an effort to satisfy criticism of what many feel are overly restrictive, anti-business regulations which were imposed many years ago. Many feel this “tweaking” did not go far enough, and did not resolve the problems faced by many businesses in Marianna.

The petition calls upon the City of Marianna to modify the existing sign ordinances for the following reasons:

1. As it is written, the current sign ordinance restrains the normal operation of a business, making it difficult / impossible to operate.

2. The current law discourages updating or replacing obsolete or time-worn signs since any modification would fall under the new law. Modern electronic or even lighted signs are discouraged.

3. The sign regulations are modeled after cities unlike Marianna and do not serve or reflect the business needs of a small, rural town. Signs of conventional size and design for any other area are not allowed.

4. The current law does not make allowance for promotions or ‘sales’ except with the express permission from the city.

5. The current sign ordinance discourages new businesses and sends a message to any prospective business that Marianna offers an anti-business atmosphere.

6. Heavy-handed enforcement tactics convey the distinct impression that the City is against fostering any efforts of a business to prosper.

7. The sign regulations are among the reasons an increasing number of businesses find need to relocate outside the City’s restrictive atmosphere.

8. Input from business owners was never sought nor encouraged. The new regulations should allow input from persons currently operating businesses within Marianna.

At this time, we do not know how many local businesses have joined this effort by signing this petition. For more information, contact Thomas Bower at 526-1084.

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