JOHNS CREEK, Ga. – With little fanfare, the Johns Creek City Council unanimously approved changes to the city’s sign ordinance June 16, but a lot of local business people breathed a sigh of relief.
The changes were a response to an outcry from the business community and the Johns Creek Chamber of Commerce to give business owners some relief from what they said was a sign ordinance that was too restrictive and often hard to interpret.
Johns Creek Mayor Mike Bodker created a sign ordinance committee with Councilmembers Lenny Zaprowski and Cori Davenport, two members of the business community and two members representing the Johns Creek community.
Zaprowski said he was happy with the results of the public hearings and the positive response from the business community for the changes.
“I think we covered 95 percent of [the business community’s] concerns. The only thing we haven’t addressed yet is changeable copy signs. We really wanted to get something going and show the business owners that we were trying to get them some relief,” Zaprowski said.
“If we have to go back and change some things, then that is what we will do,” he said. “But we wanted to send the business community a message that we’re open for business. If necessary, the city will tweak things, but I think we got most of what they wanted.”
Changeable copy signs – fixed signs that can have different copy programmed or changed – were deemed too intrusive and there were no changes to allow those.
“Schools like them and government facilities like them, but we don’t want to say it is OK for some entities and not others,” Zaprowski said.
Businesses had complained for some time that the city’s original sign ordinances were too restrictive and sometimes vague or contradictory.
The sign task force brought its conclusions forward, and the revamped sign ordinance now gives businesses a better chance to let customers know where they are.
“This sends a great signal to the business community,” said Johns Creek Chamber of Commerce President John Bemont. “It’s a signal to them that this city is a business-friendly city, and that we’re listening to their concerns.”
Bemont, who served on the sign task force, said it was also a good example of the community coming together to solve a problem that been hurting the community.
“If businesses won’t stay here, or won’t come here, what does that do to your tax base? And it also affects the city’s whole quality of life,” he said. “This goes a long way toward addressing critical issues for the business community.”