Still a relatively newcomer to downtown Marietta, The Cook's Shop owner, Ken Kupsche, said he hasn't had time to hang a slate on his door.
As Kupsche is still working toward putting some signage outside his shop, members of Marietta City Council expressed a desire last week to revisit the city's signage laws in hopes of straightening out some inconsistencies and simplifying the rules.
"Really, we haven't even put our name above the door yet, we've just been so busy with other things," Kupsche said. "Actually, I wasn't aware of any ordinances with signs until just recently."
Kupsche said a barbershop located across from his business in the 100 block of Front Street was recently told they could not put up a traditional striped barbershop pole, as it apparently violated a downtown sign ordinance.
"My feeling is that there needs to be some enforcement, especially for safety," Kupsche said. "You don't want people putting racks of clothes out all over a sidewalk, creating a trip hazard. (A barbershop pole) should absolutely be allowed, though. That's a situation where it is impeding her ability to help people identify her business."
The barbershop was closed Sunday and no one there could be reached for comment.
Councilman Harley Noland, D-at large, said existing signage laws prohibit signs protruding from buildings.
"It was put on the books for two reasons: One, to remove signs from buildings that were old, rotten and falling on people and coming down in storms; and two, when you have perpendicular signs, generally the next person puts up a bigger sign, and the next an even bigger sign and frankly, I don't think anything is accomplished. There are enough (traffic signs) and everything else just makes it visually more confusing."
Councilman Jon Grimm, R-3rd Ward and chairman of council's planning and zoning committee, last week proposed simplifying the city's sign ordinances.
Currently, Grimm said, there are 12 ordinances regulating signs in the city.
"I think one of the keys to attracting business is to have consistent and reasonable regulations," he said. "Our sign ordinances are neither consistent nor reasonable."
Grimm did not make specific suggestions but asked fellow committee members to look over the ordinances to see what changes they think might need to be made.
Charlotte Keim, president and CEO of the Marietta Area Chamber of Commerce, offered to act as a liaison between the city and businesses who have concerns and suggestions about the ordinances.
"The major complaint ... is that the rules and regulations are very confusing, that the process for applying for a sign is cumbersome," Keim said.
Some portions of the city's ordinances are outdated, Keim said. For example, one ordinance still contains language requiring signs that existed on Dec. 1, 1977, in the 100 and 200 blocks of Putnam Street and did not conform to the ordinance to be in compliance by 1987.
Keim said regulations of sandwich boards are troublesome since the size set forth in the ordinance (32 inches wide and 38 inches high) are not the standard sizes in which most businesses can order the signs.
Keim said business owners will be responsible with their signs without having overly strict regulations.
"The merchants have good sense in that they are not going to impede traffic on these sidewalks," she said. "Nobody wants anything dangerous or cluttered."
Grimm said council is having to vote too often on requests for non-conforming signs. He noted a recent city council meeting in which one business was granted permission to install a larger sign by a 4-3 vote, but another was denied permission to place a directional sign to their location, also by a 4-3 vote.
Noland said if current sign laws were enforced there would be no issue.
"I'm always willing to look at improving the ease of understanding for the users - the business owners," he said. "I just don't want to see (the sign laws) weakened."