HICKORY - One day as businessman Jimmy Brown drove to his shop in Viewmont from his home near downtown Hickory, he counted 18 illegally placed signs along the 1.1-mile route.
Signs are not allowed in road rights of way, but there they were, as they often pop up around the city. And that's just one illegal sign problem here.
The city's Appearance Commission, which Brown heads, wants to do something about what some people consider eyesores, even safety hazards.
"We've heard earfuls about it, and it's been discussed at great length over the years," Brown said. "It's not fair to other businesses that operate within the rules. We don't want to be anti-business. I'm a businessman myself. We need to get everybody on the same field."
Other cities in the region deal with the same problem. Harrisburg, in Cabarrus County, banned off-premise signs last year in an effort to stop roadside signs.
A committee the Appearance Commission appointed last fall to address the issue is looking for ways to cut down on the number of illegal signs.
The committee has recently discussed better enforcement and education on regulations as potential solutions to sign clutter. Possibilities include other city departments helping code enforcers with illegal sign control. Its recommendations will go to the full Appearance Commission. Any proposed rules changes would then wind their way through City Hall departments and commissions before going to the City Council for final approval.