Signs of the Times
A proposed sign law would let established businesses keep existing signs, but new ones would have to follow strict guidelines including smaller signs.
"When new businesses come in, they're going to have to be under these new sign ordinances," Fagan said. "And I might have to break the news to them that they too can rent my building but they have to have a dinky sign."
The proposed law even includes signs on the insides of store windows.
Large, attention-getting signs would not be allowed in the District under the new law.
"The general feel that, I think, we are looking at here is to keep a fairly pedestrian scale," said Debbie Sheils, historic preservation consultant. "This is a historic area and also an area that gets a lot of foot traffic."
Business owners KOMU talked to didn't even know the proposal was up for discussion by the Columbia Planning and Zoning Commission.
"I would like to see this be notified. I would like to see the notification," complained Mike Holden. "Certainly, the city has a list of all business owners licensed in downtown and has a list of all property owners that has a business downtown."
The proposed law would limit new businesses in the District to smaller signs than anywhere else in Columbia.
The P and Z commission expects a revised ordinance to take effect in the next few months.