Laurinburg officials say that their hands are tied with regard to allowing more liberal placement of signs advertising local events.
Discussed at Laurinburg City Council’s workshop meeting this week, any amendment or change to allow more advertising signs for church or civic events would likely be pointless given the state Department of Transportation’s strict standards.
“The NC DOT does not allow special events to be advertised … and we have really found out that it has been all-or-nothing with (enforcing this ordinance,” said Planning Director Brandi Deese during the meeting.
Because so many of the roads in the city fall under the Department of Transportation’s jurisdiction, there would be virtually no in-demand spots for the city to allow signs to be placed, officials said.
“(Those placing signs) want high traffic areas, and they aren’t available,” Deese said.
Raising the issue on behalf of local non-profits and civic groups, Councilman Kenton Spencer said that he did not think “it necessarily has to be an all-or-nothing.”
Spencer said that some of the city’s bedrock organizations, including its churches, are being prohibited from advertising events because of the restrictions.
“You’re talking about United Way and Red Cross. These are our institutional partners we are talking about,” Spencer said.
Suggesting that a community billboard be created, Spencer was told by Deese that the sign would not be prohibited on a Department of Transportation maintained street.
Mayor Tommy Parker said the strict enforcement of signage restrictions is part of Laurinburg’s long-term plan to clean up its roadsides and improve its image.
“This is part of the overall plan,” Parker said, adding that if a community sign were to be installed, change would have to come from the top.
“The only way to really change that would be to lobby in Raleigh,” Parker said.
During the same meeting, the council members also looked into Holly Lane resident Mose Ladson’s unique sewer problem.
According to Parker, Ladson is entitled to certain sewer services from the city as a tax-paying resident. However, because of the low lying property on which Ladson lives, a connection to the city’s sewer system would be impossible without a pump.
Council is now left to decide whether to install another septic tank for Ladson and maintain it yearly while charging him a fee for that service, or to install a pump to send his sewage up to the main sewer line.
Ladson told the council members that he sought out quotes for a new septic tank and that he received one for $1400 and another for $1275.
Interim City Manager Harold Haywood said that there is precedent for the situation.
“There was one case in the 90’s during the annexation of Shaw Road,” Haywood said before instructing the city’s public works staff to come back to the council with a recommendation next month.
“This is not a ‘no,’” Spencer said, addressing Ladson. “This is a ‘we’re going to work on the problem and find the best solution.’”