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PTC cuts walking signs to 6 days a year

A handful of Peachtree City businesses that have been using mascots and other “sign holders” along the road are going to have to find a different marketing ploy.

Such efforts will now be limited to no more than six days a year under an ordinance approved by the City Council Thursday night.

The rules will also apply to non-profit agencies such as youth athletic teams doing car washes, which often deploy roadside signs to drum up business.

The new rules allow for a business or non-profit venture to apply for a special events permit to allow a walking sign for no more than three days at a time. Such a permit can be approved only twice per year, per the ordinance.

The ordinance also requires that the permit applicant present written permission from the property owner. Also, the walking sign can be no more than six square feet, and the sign holder must be at least 25 feet away from the curb/edge of pavement.

In addition to the strict time limit, the ordinance also requires any walking signs to be on property where the business or non-profit event is being located. That deals a blow to businesses like The Picnic Basket restaurant, which has been using a site on the corner of Ga. Highway 74 and Kelly Drive to advertise its site located further down Kelly Drive.

Picnic Basket owner Debbie Sanders said her walking sign is very effective in bringing in customers who don’t necessarily live in Peachtree City. She also noted that when she picked her store’s location a short distance from the highway, “I assumed that I had a right to the freedom of speech.”

The catch is, however, that Peachtree City’s sign regulations are notoriously strict. And had a person not been holding Sanders’ signs and they been put in the ground instead, they would have been taken up by the city for being illegal.

But until Thursday night, the handful of businesses using walking signs have gone unabated, though the noose began to tighten in recent months.

One resident at Thursday’s council meeting said she didn’t like the walking signs because they went against the spirit of what makes Peachtree City a nice place to live.

Joan Houghton, a 17-year resident, said she was “offended” by the presence of walking signs.

“I for one don’t want to look at those things,” Houghton said.

Sanders said she will have to fire the employee who had been holding her walking sign, and she didn’t want to because he’d had a hard time finding a job despite a college degree in information technology.

Sanders said she formerly operated a Subway store in Chicago where she was able to use a costumed mascot to help advertise the store. Her walking sign recently brought in a church order for $750 in sandwiches.

Houghton countered that Sanders chose to locate her restaurant in a location off the beaten path, so she shouldn’t be “asking the council to bail her out now that she is in this situation.”

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Comments

Robert W. Morgan's picture

If you don't want to look at the walking signs - don't. But to encourage the city government and its jack-booted thugs to come up with more regulations and one that seems targeted against one business is irresponsible. Another example of 2 or 3 whiners and an instant ordinance by a city council that won't take on important issues.

I wonder if the Picnic Basket lady has found Rick Lindsey' phone number yet.

Live free or die!

I am a Fayetteville resident, and am therefore unsure of exactly what "the spirit of what makes Peachtree City a nice place to live" is. Let's try to keep things in perspective for a minute:
1. Local businesses need business. If it takes a walking sign to help them get some, so be it. Think of it as one more job created and one more business owner making a living. It's that simple.
2. Peachtree City sign regulations are so strict that, had the owner of the Picnic Basket located her business right on Hwy 74 instead of "off the beaten path", the sign for her business would not be allowed to be clearly visible from the road, and she might not attract enough business to stay afloat. But who cares, right? As long as Peachtree City retains its "pristine" look, what's one more business closing down?
3. There are quite a few walking signs in Fayetteville, and they don't bother me (I am concerned for the safety of the employees, though). What is so offensive about them? It's not like they are advertising inappropriate services or contain foul language.
4. What I do find worrisome (and in a way offensive, because you feel like a captive audience seating in your car at a red light) is charitable organizations who, while they support worthy causes, place members right in the middle of intersections or traffic lanes to collect money. I don't know how this situation has not created an accident yet!
In closing, I say to those opposed to the walking signs: be satisfied that they don't invade your golf cart paths, and either ignore them or stay home! There are so many more important issues to talk about, why dwell on something so trivial?

freedom4all

Robert W. Morgan's picture

We focus on mundane issues and intrusive regulations aimed at a few businesses for 3 reasons here in good old Peachtree City:
1. The only people that try to get elected here are of limited intellect and they possess no business background or even the slightest understanding or interest in how to operate a small business.
2. The only way those people can get elected here is demonize businesses, mostly retail and especially big boxes. They actually blame retailers for traffic and think the solution is smaller square footage. And low voter turnout helps since the voters are even dumber than the candidates. Sometimes we get 15% of registered voters which is about 8% of total population.
3. The holy grail of Peachtree City is the Land Use Plan which was created in the 1960's and modified once in the 1980's. The only way one can get unelected in PTC is to tinker with the Land Use Plan or propose something that violates that plan. We are all hoping a bowling alley is the third rail of PTC politics for Mr. Haddix.

A possible fourth reason could be that city government has grown up under times of wild growth when regulation was really needed. Now that there is no growth, that regulatory instinct seeks out the small business owner. Which simply means that city staff is programmed to seek out evildoers when prodded by the 3 or 4 people who have the time and inclination to attend city council meetings (see photo above).

Hope that clears it up for you, trish.
Greetings from PTC where our motto is "If it was good enough for Joel Cowan, it is good enough for us"

Live free or die!

PTC Observer's picture

if you don't like it get out in front, run for Mayor or council.

I'll support you.

"Adapt or die" that should be your motto. ;-)

Robert W. Morgan's picture

that has a hand pointing to the left that says "I'm with Stupid". That kinda sums it up.

I'm not sure if I would turn stupid like I have seen so many do after they were elected OR if I would say or do something really inappropriate if I had to serve alongside people like Haddix and Brown or even Logsdon. Either way, it doesn't sound like something I want to do. All this crap that people spout about "giving back" or "making a difference" rings very hollow with me nowadays. Might be age.

And how does one get elected? By being intellectually dishonest. You abandon any real principles or at least morph them into sound bites that are important to a few campaign contributors and a few more voters - all of whom have a bit of anti-growth or wealth-envy or both in their souls. What about that sounds like fun?

Live free or die!

Robert, you have hit the nail on the head.

While running for mayor I was told that running on a "business model" would never work. I was instructed to tell people what they wanted to hear...never tell them the truth nor what they need to hear. Unless you play the game of politics (lying to the public) you can never get elected.

We elect people (in all levels of goverment) who are clueless and we wonder why things are as they are.

Are you saying that the politicians who promise to destroy the new health plan, get us out of debt and reduce taxes, give corporations a tax break, put women who have abortions in jail for life, kill all doctors who do abortions---except the private ones, interpret every bit of the constitution according to the New and Old Bible, brag about Motherhood. apple pie, and Chevrolet, destroy the welfare program entirely, take no money from the government, etc., are lying?

Also, stop walking signs, and put million dollar roofs on swimming pools and ize ranks during a recession!

that goes on here. But that's another topic altogether.

On another note, PTC is certainly not the first City to try and regulate signage of this type. It would seem to fit in with our overall sign laws. I would only say what if every business had some joker out on the sidewalk swinging signs...I don't think most would go for that. Ok, maybe Trish.

BHH's picture

"what if every business had some joker out on the sidewalk swinging signs"

That might be the time to regulate in some way.

But right now, it's just harassing those making a living at it and their patrons by an overbearing few.

I think government should be of the mindset of "Let's see how we can make this work better without added burden on anyone."

Rather than "Let's see how we can put a stop to this".

pyramidman

Robert W. Morgan's picture

Not in this town. Might be easier to talk my neighbor's dog out of chasing cats.

Complicated solutions for simple problems - make that imaginary problems.

Live free or die!

BHH's picture

No more problem.

pyramidman

Robert W. Morgan's picture

That's either a heartless flip comment or a very clever metaphor for the way we treat businesses in Peachtree City. Can't decide.

Live free or die!

long before this came up. I have seen it get out of hand in areas around the metro. What you see is overbearing I see as being somewhat proactive. Sounds like we mainly agree, neither of us wants to see it get "out of hand".

BHH's picture

since I don't have to do business there.

I go through PTC just about every day but probably don't spend $100 a yr there.

In fact the only hand held sign I've seen near there is in Tyrone.

So it won't affect me in the least.

pyramidman

care about this so much. I love the folks who complain about PTC & rules/regulations and have ZERO stake in it.

BHH's picture

I'm in complete agreement with you on these subjects.

pyramidman

NUK_1's picture

PTC hasn't had the "pristine" look or a really "good" one anyway since the 23 Public Works' people got downsized and the grass cutting and landscaping was contracted out. I'm more concerned about overgrown with weed medians and grass so tall that it would be a citation if it were a private homeowner's land than I am a few "walking signs" popping up here or there.

Totally agree on the charitable groups panhandling at intersections and that includes firefighters also.

BHH's picture

just encourage minors to do the same for their car washes and such.

I totally dislike that type of solicitations.

pyramidman

How dare you attempt to insert some common sense in decision making! You need to move to PTC!

The walking signs in Fayetteville don't bother me at all either. :)

BHH's picture

Over regulation is the rule in PTC which bleeds over to county, state, and federal governments.

pyramidman

BHH's picture

In more ways than one.

pyramidman

the city, the council, the mayor, everything. Why can't the real issues be focused on instead of how this city looks? I get appearance and all but, that was long gone when they contracted out landscaping. The city wants businesses to create more revenue but it can only be done on their terms. The ones that are complaining about walking signs being unappealing are exactly whats wrong with this city. People are drowning out there trying to keep their households and businesses afloat and people are worried about the fact that someone is holding a sign up to create more business? It makes no sense. What is the city and all of these complaining citizens going to do when there is nothing but row after row of empty stores? It has already begun.

Citizen_Steve's picture

This sign thing came up because it irked someone on the planning commission as they drove by it, they took it up as a business item, and this council regulated it.

I've lost faith in the planning commission due to their lack of perspective - the walking signs are tiny zit on the large goiter of failed planning that is the west side.

And I'm losing faith in the council for not requiring more from our planning commission, and enacting another petty ordinance that requires more tax and personal resources for enforcement from us.

Steve

The issue of walking signs was not brought up the by the planning commission as you stated here. It was brought to the planning commission via the city planner and it was from city council asking us to look at.

You will have to check with the city planner but I suspect the issue was raised by Haddix to the planner looking for the planning commission to recommend controls.

Orginally, planning did not want to do anything......

Ask city council who proposed it or contact the city planner but it was not the planning commission.

Thanks

All Smiles's picture

Joan Houghton has been here much longer than 17 years!!!! I had her as my English teacher in 1980. Who cares if someone walks around with a sign. Get a life!!

Robert W. Morgan's picture

I've seen her here long before 17 years ago - meaning 1994 and she was really nice back then. My daughter had her as a teacher as well. Why she would front this issue is a real mystery.

Why would anyone? Who cares?

Live free or die!

Car washes have to apply for a permit? Give me a break!

DarkMadam's picture

A good deal of the time last summer at the corner of 54 and Huddleston there was a man sitting in a chair propping up a sign for something (I didn't really care enought to look, even though I drove by it EVERYDAY...you can see how much it bothered me...LOL), can I assume that this will stop him too? He was not actually moving. Also, does this mean no more firemen with boots (except 6 times a year with a permit)?

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