“We had a very long discussion a few weeks ago about the quote unquote ‘illegal advertising’ downtown. Benches, and we have not had any follow-up on that,” First Ward Councilman Kevin Johnson said. “I’m anxious to have the president of Council to inquire of the City Solicitor and Mayor as to where that issue is.”
During that discussion Council had talked about large billboard signs as well as the benches, and even signs posted on utility poles.
“After discussing that, you drive around town and you see a lot of different things I have picked up on,” Second Ward Councilman Rich Saddler said. “Benches, different signs, private business signs attached to city sign posts, things like that. It’s inappropriate, I think.”
“I think also, and I think Mr. (Nick) Basham mentioned this as well, seeing these gargantuan huge things pop up,” Johnson said. “I think it’s a perfect time to look at it either from the standpoint of controlling how we require a permit for them, or making them an income stream. If you’re going to put up something like that, you’re going to pay for it.”
Portsmouth Mayor David Malone mentioned that a sign at Fourth and Gay streets had been brought up in the course of the discussion.
“Those types of signs are approved by the state. They just happened to overlook that one for some reason,” Malone said. “The city doesn’t have any ordinance or anything that addresses that.”
Johnson said that was the point he was making, that the city should have an ordinance in place dealing with public advertising.
“We don’t have any ordinances to manage them like other communities do,” Johnson said. “We have never dealt with the aesthetics of the issue nor the licensing thereof or anything else. Our laws locally are totally silent. That’s why, all of a sudden they’re popping up everywhere.”
FRANK LEWIS may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 232, or firstname.lastname@example.org.