Local Businesses Find Loophole in City Sign Ordinance

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COLUMBIA - A local business owner said he is parking a truck with advertisements in front of his business to get around the Columbia's sign ordinances. Other Columbia business owners have done the same to skirt the ordinance.

The city of Columbia has ordinances regarding the size, amount, and type of signs that local business owners are allowed to display outside their businesses. However, the code of ordinances fails to address one type of sign: trucks with advertisements painted on the side.

But critics say these truck-borne advertisements are dangerous for drivers. One particular truck was parked at the intersection of Indiana Avenue and Business Loop 70 for months. Ayoub Darkhalil works at a business located across the street from the truck and said it seemed to be a problematic location for drivers because it blocked oncoming traffic. 

"A lot of people are coming and going and then it's what, an 18-wheeler truck, so it is going to have an effect on the views of the people that are making a right turn on Business Loop," Darkhalil said.

Because city ordinances do not address using advertisement trucks, city officials said this issue is out of their hands unless the trucks are dangerous to the public. 

"Things that are set up to move from place to place, we can regulate that. But as far as the sign on the back of a truck, we've considered that to be something we can't enforce," City of Columbia's Building and Site Development Manager Shane Creech said.

City inspectors first inspected the truck on Indiana and Business Loop 70 in October, but decided it was not dangerous for drivers. However, after speaking with KOMU 8 News about the issue, the city re-inspected the area on Monday. Again, inspectors did not cite a violation, but asked the business owners to remove the truck. 

City officials said the only requirement for the trucks are that they are licensed for driving.