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New sign law finds opposition

A Lincoln County businessmen questioned city aldermen Tuesdayabout a new ordinance that prohibits placement of signs, circularsand other advertising material on public property in the city.

Willie Hill, a financial planner who lives in the Loyd Stararea, said he had tried to put up advertising signs in places wherehe had permission, on relatives’ property or where other signs werealready in place. However, he said he recently received an “attack”call warning him that the signs were not allowed in the city.

“It caused me some problems,” Hill said. “I don’t feel like Ideserved that.”

At their last meeting, aldermen formally approved the ordinancethat prohibits advertising matter from being put on automobiles,sidewalks, streets or other public places inside the city. The newlaw, which is in the process of being advertised, expands tocitywide an older ordinance that limited the restriction to thedowntown area.

“The ordinance was designed to make it city wide and to stop theproliferation of signs,” said City Attorney Joe Fernald, who saidthe law would have to be enforced consistently.

Violation of the ordinance carries a $180 misdemeanor fine.

Fernald said his interpretation of the law would be that anysigns on city right of way must come up.

“It’s a fair restriction on time and space for speech,” Fernaldsaid.

Hill and city officials mentioned some scenarios such as puttingadvertisements on private property.

“I don’t want to upset people. I want to do business,” Hillsaid.

Mayor Bill Godbold abruptly ended the discussion by advisingHill that he would have to comply with the city law. He directedany complaint Hill might have to Building Inspector Steve Moretonor Police Chief Arlustra “Pap” Henderson.