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Waves in Warsaw as city seeks to update sign ordinance

 

WARSAW, Ind. – It has been more than a decade since Warsaw updated its sign ordinance and the current push to bring it into the 21st century is being met with some resistance.
According the Warsaw City Planner, Jeremy Skinner, the city wants to make the new ordinance less restrictive than the current one.
“We are trying to put together the best ordinance that will present the community in the light that they want to be presented, and allow the businesses to be successful,” said Skinner.
Right now the ordinance is still in the development stages with several opportunities left to go before the City Council will have an opportunity to vote on it.
The current ordinance has been amended several times since it was created in 1999.
Right now, it is prohibited to have people shaking signs on the side o the road, according to Skinner.
There is currently no provision being looked at that would overturn that prohibition.
But such marketing tools are popular and widely used in Warsaw despite the current ordinance.
Dee Noffsinger, the proprietor of Dominos Pizza on the corner of Detroit and Main streets, told us he has had a sign shaker on the corner most summer nights for the last four and a half years.
“No one has come forward and told me we can’t, so we continue to do it,” said Noffsinger. “It’s an important part, and if that goes away it’s going to have an impact not just on us but everyone.”
Noffsinger plans to continue to use the sign shaker for several reasons, the fact that it brings in a significant amount of business notwithstanding.
 Noffsinger employs several high school students during the summer to work behind the counter and on the street as sign shakers.
Losing the ability to market his business in that way could cost the teens their job.
And Noffsinger is not the only business in this boat.
Recently a Little Caesars has opened just five blocks from the Dominos. There is a Papa John’s and a Pizza Hut nearby too.
Many of the competitors also use the sign shaking marketing tool.
An example of something the new ordinance would do, under its current iteration, is to reduce restrictions for businesses by allowing inflatable signs to be used; but only by businesses that do the majority of their business outside, such as car dealerships.
Still, this is not just about allowing businesses to use the tools they have to continue to thrive in this economy; it is about appearances as well.
Skinner views the ordinance as a way to let the people of Warsaw decide what their town will look like to themselves, and to people passing through.
 And, according to Skinner, there is still plenty of time to weigh-in; he wants to hold several more public meetings to get the residents of Warsaw and the businesses to participate, and help shape the new ordinance.

The new ordinance will not be ready for a Council Vote until sometime this fall, according to Skinner.

 

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