Sign companies unhappy with terms of moratorium

Amarillo, Texas

Larry Lemmons

Newschannel 10

Amarillo Sign company owners are unhappy with the Amarillo City Commission's terms for a moratorium on signage.

The Commission voted Tuesday to allow no more than 300 square feet in area and 45 feet from the ground for the next ninety days.

The Planning And Zoning Commission last week allowed the sign companies 400 square feet and 55 feet from the ground on interstates.  Today's vote reverses that decision.

Sign company representatives say they make most of their money in the summer and having a moratorium now with such limitations is bad for business.

Jimmy Barnes of Signs of Change says, "This is our busy time. This is when we make our bread and butter."

Michael Wellborn of Wellborn Signs says potential customers this time of year may decline to put signs up on the Amarillo interstates during the moratorium because he says they will be at a disadvantage.  He's also angry about the timing, "And they throw a moratorium right in our busiest time of the year."

"Our men make all their overtime, make their money and then we sort of skate through the winter, says Gary Cox of Hoarel Sign Company, who also was chosen to be one of five members of a new committee assigned the task of coming up with a new sign ordinance during the 90 day moratorium.  Others on the committee include Roger Cox, George Raffkind, Don Marsh, and Dusty Maguire.

In response to concerns, Mayor Debra McCarrtt says, "As I asked all the sign folks if any of them had any permits currently for the larger signs and none of them did. So I don't feel like it's going to affect the economy of Amarillo or the business of Amarillo at this time until the moratorium is over so they'll have time with that."

Concerns are also expressed that the moratorium will last longer than 90 days but McCartt says the City will make every effort to see it doesn't happen.

Amarillo City Commissioner Jim Simms says, "I can't imagine anything being so restrictive it's going to hurt somebody for this little short period of time."