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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Some call it an icon standing strong for more than 50 years, but the City of Wilmington does not think this restaurant sign should stay up.

The owner of Flip’s Bar-B-Que House on Oleander Drive received a notice from the city to take down his sign by tomorrow, but after we started making calls, the city says it made a mistake, and the sign can stay up a little longer.

Monday Flip’s owner Bob Church was getting ready to tear his beloved sign down. After standing tall for more than half a century, the City of Wilmington told Church the sign is too big and too close to the road.

“I wouldn’t complain, but since it’s an antique sign, and I know they have regulations, I understand it, but they should have started it as of 2000, 2001, 2002 and regulate the signs,” Church said. “But there’s 180 signs that have to come down on Oleander Drive. I mean, it’s crazy.”

When we started working on this story Monday morning, we contacted the city for more information on the rules and regulations governing signs like the one at Flip’s. Our inquiry led to the city finding paperwork allowing Church time to take his sign down had the wrong date. The documents said church had until Tuesday, but it turns out Flip’s has until September 1, 2012.

Still, customers think the sign should stay up for good.

“It’s a landmark,” customer Matt White said. “It’s been there for 50 years. You know, why continue to harass people over something that is so insignificant? It’s a good ways off the street. Maybe 15 to 20 feet. They’re just looking for something.”

Church says the sign will stay for now. He’s canceled the crane and crew to take it down. He says he plans to wait as long as possible to take it down, which should be August 31, 2012.

The city says the reason the sign must come down are rules that took effect when it annexed that stretch of Oleander in 2000. The sign changes were supposed to happen last year, but the city granted a two-year extension in August.

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38 Comments on "FIRST ON 3: Flip’s sign can stay (for now) after city realizes mistake"

2015 years 9 months ago

Alright then… more details add clarity and make this a bit more of a story…. slightly. Still don’t think it’s newsworthy though!

2015 years 9 months ago

Did Flip’s ask to be annexed by the city? (you know, to be a part of those great services only the city can provide) If he did, then the sign should go. If not, the sign should stay.

10 year amortization. Was that for the people’s or the city’s benefit? Imagine the backlash if along with your brand new city tax bill, you also received a letter stating your property isn’t up to city code.

2015 years 9 months ago

I guess nobody thought to ask Bob Church why he had to take his sign down.

2015 years 9 months ago

Maybe the city should spend less time/money and effort regulating signage on parts of the city it grabs and instead focus those resources on dealing with the crime downtown?

Call me crazy but a sign on Oleander probably causes less negative impact to tourism and revenue to the city than muggings/stabbings/shootings/robberies downtown.

Len Simpson
2015 years 9 months ago

Apparently the city of Wilmington has nothing better to do then to harass businesses that have been doing business in the area for more than 50 years.Where is the problem? The sign in question is not an eye sore nor a distraction to drivers.It does not flash,strobe,twinkle nor cause a driver to take attention from the road.
Wilmington, find something else to focus your priorities on and keep your hands off the sign that is the advertisement to a restaurant that is the livelihood and income for the owner who pays his taxes (local and federal)for YOUR livelihood.


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