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Wilmington City Council suspends enforcement of sign ordinance for 30 days

READ MORE: Wilmington City Council suspends sign ordinance enforcement for 30 days
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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- A Wilmington sign ordinance has drawn a lot of attention recently as violation notifications have started hitting businesses. Now some Wilmington City Council members are rethinking their positions on that ordinance.

City Council voted Tuesday night to suspend enforcement of its sign ordinance for 30 days.

That will give business owners time to voice their complaints and council time to make any changes to the ordinance if necessary.

"We're listening to the citizens," said Wilmington Mayor Bill Saffo. "We want to hear what they have to say. We're going to go back out there and take a look at this thing and hopefully come up with something that makes sense."

The ordinance was adopted in 2008 but many retailers just became aware of it after receiving tickets.

"A lot of people were very upset when they received violation notices," said Chris Andrews, a representative of the Downtown Business Alliance. "(Business owners) realized the impact that it could potentially have on their business, being able to promote their business."

For merchants the big issue with the ordinance is that only 10% of their windows can be covered. Many of them argue that hurts the effectiveness of store advertising.

If after 30 days time the council deems it necessary, they could alter the ordinance and up that percentage.

Mayor Bill Saffo says they will revisit the issue but that downtown does have an improved look.

"There was a lot of old posters, there was a lot of old signs that had been up in some windows for quite some time according to what some of our staff had shared with us, but it does look better," said Saffo.

Some members of City Council were concerned that downtown will have a cluttered look if too many posters are allowed.

In the end they decided they will need to hear more from stake holders before anything in the ordinance is changed.

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