LELAND, NC (WWAY) -- The Town of Leland is making changes to sign laws and the permitting process for signs. The Leland Sign Committee has been working over the last several years to try and simplify advertising for business owners. Today was another step in the process.
The Sign Committee primarily kept two things in mind when making changes: the Master Plan of Leland and small business owners.
"If you're not user-friendly and business-friendly to them, it's going to be difficult to get people to come here," business owner Dennis Walsh said. "I think that the town is taking the right role in putting the ordinances in place, reviewing them and making them user-friendly."
Walsh owns Charlie MacGrooders, a bar and restaurant on Village Road. He's been there about five years and says he's happy with the town and the customers, but not so thrilled about the placement of his current roadside sign.
"We are trying to make things as accessible to them as possible," Sign Committee chair Allison Engebretson said. "We understand that it's a hard economic time. We really want to expand as much square footage to them as we can, so we've tried to allow more signs."
Engebretson said the ordinance does not allow for bigger signs but more of them. She said economic development is key to Leland's growth.
Keeping the town modern and appealing to the eyes is also a concern. Walsh agrees with keeping signs current and uniform and hopes the new rules will help his business.
"We are creatures of habit, and we've also become, I don't want to say a lazy society, but if you pass it, your thought is, well, I'll find another one," Walsh said.
Engebretson said, "We have allowed more flexibility for the Town of Leland. We've incorporated more signs into the ordinance, specifically more signs that don't require a permit."
There is no final word on when business owners will have to update their signs. Some board members suggest as far off as five or ten years, which Walsh thinks is too much time. He said marketing is crucial to business, so a new sign would be an investment and an upgrade and something business owners should make a plan to pay for.
Leland leaders will talk about the sign rules again December 5 at 6:30 p.m.