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Sign trouble for Allenhurst business owner
ap TinCanSam pic
Tin Can Sam discount grocery owner Samantha Bishop said she uses a scrolling sign to attract attention and customers to the Allenhurst business. County ordinances say such signs present a safety hazard by distraction drives. - photo by Alena Parker / Coastal Courier
Samantha Bishop, owner of Tin Can Sam discount grocery store in Allenhurst, approached the council during Monday's meeting after a complaint was filed against her scrolling sign.
A presentation from Liberty County Planning Commission representative Debra Attical asserted that the scrolling sign is not in line with the ordinance.
"The restrictions we keep coming to in this particular petition is the scrolling component of the sign," Attical said. "The ordinance states no flashing or moving signs should be permitted."
While the Bishop's sign can operate without scrolling, she said it would be no asset to her business.
"That sign is not wide enough to put much of anything on without it scrolling," Bishop said.
Bishop decided to lease the $30,000 sign from Signtronix when representatives from the Atlanta-based company first approached her.
"We were new and looking for some way to get some advertising and let people know that we're here," she explained.
Bishop said the Signtronix representatives assured her that the sign was permissible. She also personally called LCPC to verify.
"They (Signtronix representatives) no sooner had drove out of our parking lot before we were called back and told, 'no, we can not have this sign'," Bishop said.
The news came after the lease was signed and the $2,500 down payment was made.
Since Signtronix would not let Bishop out the lease, she kept the sign in the crate it was packaged in.
"We decided maybe we can at least put it in the window...didn't think we had to have a permit for it to be inside the store," Bishop said.
It was after municipal elections that she was informed that even having the sign in the window was prohibited.
"There has been other signage around similar to what we have. Unfortunately most of that signage is in the Hinesville area, which they (Hinesville) just changed the ordinance on," Bishop said.
In order to legally allow Bishop put up the sign, Attical said Allenhurst will have to modify the ordinance and "allow every business owner the opportunity."
"Liability comes in when you let this person do it, but don't let that person do it," she said.
Mayor Thomas Hines said Bishop will be allowed to keep the sign, "as it is until we can clarify the ordinances."
The city will hold a public workshop to decide whether to allow scrolling signs.
One of the concerns with allowing the change is it becoming a free-for-all, with all the businesses in the town putting up flashing and scrolling signs.
"Some of the council is afraid that Allenhurst would look like Las Vegas," Hines said.
Bishop said that since she has the sign and was originally told it was legal she hopes it can be used more effectively.
"We hope once everything is looked at maybe the ordinance can be changed to allow the sign by the road," Bishop said.
"We feel that we are an asset here to the community...not everybody has a lot of money...or wants to spend a lot of money," she said.
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