Centerville adopts moratorium on signs

CENTERVILLE — The Centerville City Council adopted a 90-day moratorium on granting permits for any signs larger than 200 square feet during a called meeting Tuesday afternoon to give it time to review the city’s sign ordinances.

City Attorney Rebecca Tydings said a billboard company has requested permits for signs that might violate the provisions of Centerville’s current ordinances and has threatened litigation if they are not granted.

Tydings explained that case laws concerning signs are constantly changing.

She said there have been several federal court cases since the Centerville ordinances were last updated in 2007 that may make some provisions in them concerning sign content unconstitutional.

“We have different provisions for on-site signs and off-site signs, and we may have to change that,” she said.

The moratorium gives the council time to draft and adopt new sign ordinances that would be in compliance with recent federal rulings before it issues any more sign permits.

“These national advertising companies are always looking at changes in law that give them more opportunity to sell billboards. They especially want to locate in growing communities like Centerville and Warner Robins,” Tydings said.

But at the same time, communities want to regulate sign placement and size to keep major road corridors from being saturated with advertising.

“Communities can still regulate signs, but their laws have to be in line with what the U.S. Supreme Court says,” she said.

To contact writer Chuck Thompson, call 923-6199, extension 235.