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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY)– An ongoing problem plaguing the city of Wilmington is what city leaders are going to do about sign regulations. With recent enforcement of the current ordinance, business owners have been up in arms. Thursday night the city held a public meeting in which they received feedback from those stakeholders.

“I think we all want an attractive city,” said Jim Bitto, President of the Downtown Business Alliance. “I think we all want the same things and it’s a matter of how we work together to get there.”

The results from the meeting seemed pretty clear. In a survey done by the Downtown Business Alliance polling 100 shops, the highest percentage of business owners said 50% of window coverage would be a reasonable balance.

In the city’s makeshift poll, the response was overwhelming that the public wants an increase to the allotted 10%.

“I will not agree to a percentage of what’s acceptable and not acceptable,” said Hunter Ford, a downtown business owner. “I will on the outside of my window, but on the inside of my window, I pay way to much money in rent to compromise what we are doing. I was told by one of the code enforcement officers that my sunglass display case is considered a sign and that’s totally inappropriate.”

The city is acknowledging that past changes in the ordinance were not communicated well. To make sure that doesn’t happen again, this public forum was held.

“They need to know that we are here just to take their input,” said Deputy City Manager Tony Caudle. “We’ve reached out to them, but I will guarantee you that somebody somewhere down the line will tell us I didn’t know about this.”

The results from Thursday nights meeting will be presented to city council and then discussed further at next Tuesday’s Wilmington City Council meeting.

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7 Comments on "City of Wilmington holds public meeting discussing sign regulations"

2015 years 9 months ago
2015 years 9 months ago

You and your designer friend are certainly welcome the find a space downtown and spend your money to open your own business. If the attractiveness of your window display drives more costumers through your door then your neighboring competitor… good for you, you’ll make more money and maybe even cause your competitor to improve their display to compete. That’s the free market and the government is not the driving force. The city should not be running an entrepreneur’s business, dictating what should be in the window the owner spent good money on.

2015 years 9 months ago

Who does the city council think they are! Why don’t they spend there time doin something useful! Like regulating construction projects… market street is a disaster! The alleyways are disgusting…ee

2015 years 9 months ago

Signs in windows is a problem “plaguing” the City? No, the problem plaguing the City is the total ineptness of our elected City Council members with their willy-nilly spending, not signs in the windows of downtown businesses.

Regardless of the percentage of window space for signs ultimately decided upon, I can only imagine the supermarkets will be up in arms if they can no longer display their weekly specials signs in their windows.

There are much larger problems facing this City other than signs in windows. And for a code enforcement officer to say a sunglasses display is a sign is truly absurd.

2015 years 9 months ago

Last month a designer friend and I walked the entire length of Front and then back on Water. As we walked we made comments on how ugly the storefronts were.

Are there no shop owners in downtown Wilmington who know how to design an attractive display in the window? There are a couple of shops that have taken a little effort to assemble an attractive display–a couple, and that’s all.

The other stores and shops–and especially the BARS–have dirty windows with all sorts of ugly, chaotic crap taped to the glass with yellowing cellophane tape.

And Downtown Wilmington is supposed to be artsy, creative?

What a laugh! It’s anything but!

2015 years 9 months ago

Put the city on notice that they serve at the will of the people not the other way around. Isn’t an election underway? Grow a pair buiness owners and come together and back the city down. Use your clout as buiness owners and tell the city you will not stand for it. Stand up for yourselves and tell the city to butt out of issues other than essential services.

Solution: Civil disobedience. The active, professed refusal to obey certain laws, demands, and commands of a government, or of an occupying international power. What are they gonna do? Shut you ALL down then scurry back into their gated communities?

You think the housing bust was devastating, wait till the commercial property bust hits. That paper is coming down the pipe as we speak. We have allowed politicians to sell us out to special interest lobbyists and huge corporations and “they” have become “our” rulers. Truth hurts.

2015 years 9 months ago

I sincerely hope that in the next election, each and every sitting member of the Wilmington City Council is ripped from his/her seats by the voters. It is outrageous that business owners must cow-tow to such stupid window regulations. Seems like they are on a mission to totally destroy what remnants of a downtown shopping area that remains.


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