County sign ordinance could be amended

Express Editorial

     For the past several months, the Jones County Planning and Zoning Commission and the Board of Supervisors have been discussing the possibility of modifying the county’s sign ordinance to perhaps better serve businesses within commercially-zoned districts.

     In the past five years, the sign ordinance has been modified twice, both due to violations. In April 2014, the ordinance was updated to increase the size of signage within a commercial district, 24-by-32 square feet. In July 2015, the ordinance was changed due to safety concerns at intersections in both agriculture and commercial districts.

     While the supervisors have yet to indicate what changes they’d like to made to the sign ordinance, suggestions have included two wall signs, which refer to signs affixed to a building, as well as a pole sign, meaning a sign near the entrance or parking lot of the commercial business.

     There are currently two businesses within the Anamosa area that appear to be in violation of the current ordinance because both have two wall signs, as well as a post sign. The ordinance only allows for one wall and one post sign at the present time. Both of these businesses are also on roadways that are visible by traffic from both directions. It would make sense that they would want signs on each side of their building to attract customers and business.

     Wouldn’t it be important to have a sign ordinance that favored business?

     It has been mentioned that the current Jones County sign ordinance hinders (or has hindered) potential businesses from coming to Jones County. Without sound facts, no one knows that for sure. But thinking of future business, wouldn’t you want an ordinance that was in their favor?

     Existing and new businesses are the future of small, rural counties like ours. Keeping existing businesses and attracting new ones keep the local economy going. What harm is there in amending the sign ordinance to allow for more visibility? The county can modify the ordinance without allowing for an obscene amount of signage.

     It’s understandable that in this case, where business owners clearly violated the ordinance, you wouldn’t modify it just to suit them. But looking ahead toward the future, we need to be more accommodating than not.

     We urge both the Board of Supervisors and the Planning and Zoning Commission to look at the sign ordinance thoroughly before making any changes. Seek input from existing county businesses as to how increased signage would benefit them. But also, think about what proactive changes would mean for current and new businesses. (K.N.B.)


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