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Oakwood council delays acting on sign rules
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OAKWOOD — Oakwood City Council voted Monday night to put off changes to the city’s sign law, particularly affecting the display of banners.

Council members talked about staff doing some more research but, when prompted by City Attorney Donnie Hunt, didn’t offer further direction. Councilman Gary Anderson did ask Hunt for a copy of the current law.

"As it is written, I can’t support it," said Councilman Ron McFarland. "I think it should be tabled and researched more."

The proposed law would require residents to register banners with the city at no charge. It also would allow businesses to put banners up 20 days at a time for up to six times per year.

The council ended up voting 3-1 to delay the changes, with Councilman Montie Robinson the lone opponent. "What is there to research? What’s the issue?" he asked.

Robinson has been outspoken about regulating banners, saying they have become an eyesore, particularly on business-heavy Mundy Mill Road.

"I don’t think it’s a good business practice for a city to open the gate for anybody to hang any kind of bedsheet out in front of their establishment to advertise ... a business," he said.

City officials have said that banners have sprung up around the city and that the current law prohibits them altogether. The new law would attempt to set controls.

Anderson said he didn’t believe the city should try to regulate banners, especially in tough economic times.

"In this financial environment, we should be encouraging ... and helping businesses," he said.

The council was set for its final vote Monday night on the changes to the law, which got the group’s first OK on Jan. 12.

Anderson was the only councilman voting against the first reading of the changes.

Also on Monday night, the council held a public hearing on the matter. No one showed to speak.

In other business, the council heard from Avery Niles, warden of the Hall County Correctional Institution, about the city’s public works department’s efforts to have one of its employees, Randall Kimbrell, a newly certified corrections officer, lead an inmate cleanup crew.

"I hope and pray Oakwood will be better because of the relationship we have entered," Niles told the council.