MOULTRIE, Ga. — Moultrie City Council extended a moratorium on sign applications for another 90 days Friday as it considers a Tennessee company’s business venture.
The moratorium, which initially went into effect Sept. 24, halts the review and acceptance of applications regarding new signs larger than 36 square feet.
City Attorney Mickey Waller took charge of Friday’s called city council meeting as he’s been working with New South Media, the reason for the moratorium.
According to him, the new sign ordinance has a draft prepared, one that was recently revised with insight from Planning and Community Development Director Daniel Parrish.
“When we did the first [moratorium], we only did it for 60 days and we would’ve had to extend it even at 90 days to get to the planning commission for the zoning procedures law compliance,” Waller said.
Waller said they proposal should be done in 60 days, however. The new sign ordinance must go through a process of being posted, receiving public comment and being sent for approval with the planning commission.
Having the full 90 days is about dotting the i’s and crossing the t’s, City Manager Pete Dillard said.
“We just won’t accept any [applications] for 90 days,” he said. “Otherwise, someone can come along later and say ‘No, you didn’t post it a proper number of days,’ ‘You didn’t have the correct amount of time before you made the ordinance,’ [or] ‘You didn’t allow the correct time for public comment.’”
Dillard said no other companies wanting signs voiced opposition; this is about making sure no blind spots appear.
He also said New South Media has been cooperative in working to create the new ordinance.
The advertising media company applied for nine signs before the Sept. 24 moratorium. Most were larger than 20 square feet, which was the largest sign allowed under the existing sign ordinance. They varied from 50 to 396 square feet.
Some were said to be externally lit, but it’s been revealed that this meant electronic signs, something Dillard said Moultrie is still catching up with.
“You may have seen the signs that have an ad for something and then it switches to another,” Dillard said about the electronic signs. “You’ve got to be careful with that because if it distracts people then they start running [driving] into each other.”
So, on top of including electronic signs in the ordinance, it will manage the limits for sign size, amount of content and ad change speeds.
NSM plans to give the city free ad space for public announcements and related items as part of the agreement of looking into the sign ordinance.
The draft of the ordinance is currently awaiting its sendoff to the planning commission.