Friday, January 11, 2008

A Sign of Good Sense

The Bentonville Planning Commission will review a new sign ordinance next week, and it will likely be considered by the Bentonville City Council on January 22. Planner Shelli Rushing drafted the proposed ordinance and said it is intended to reduce the number of signs placed on huge poles and thus lessen visual clutter, especially on major roads in the city such as Walton Boulevard. It also addresses light pollution, electronic signs, and banners.

Ed Clifford, President of the Bentonville/Bella Vista Chamber of Commerce, is enthusiastic about the new sign ordinance because he thinks it will give Bentonville a "classier" look with low-level signs for commercial buildings.
"It's a perception or a feel you get in a town," Clifford said. A town with low-level monument signs instead of unsightly signs on tall poles "seems to value its sense of place more."

The Bentonville Chamber's sensible approach to smart growth will enhance the human scale of the commercial areas and make their city more attractive. Even Springdale
realizes that it needs to curb the visual pollution of gawdy signs on its major streets if the city is to again become a livable family community instead of serial strip malls.

Bill Ramsey of the Fayetteville Chamber of Cowbirds is still advocating huge commercial signs and complaining that Fayetteville's sign ordinance is a job killer that ran off Cracker Barrel and put Fuddrucker's out of business. It's nonsense. Even Chamber officials in Benton County know better. Ed Clifford said straight up that once people get used to looking for low-level signs, it doesn't hinder businesses at all.

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