Members of the Bosque Farms business community filled the village council chambers Monday evening to watch the village council debate revisions to the sign ordinance.
After submitting a petition with more than 500 signatures to the council about two weeks ago, some business owners along Bosque Farms Boulevard were hoping that revisions would allow more visible business signs.
Larry Kijowski, who owns a car lot on the boulevard, spoke out at the meeting and criticized the councilors.
“Five-hundred people signed a petition that they want pennants,” Kijowski said. “You guys are supposed to represent the people.”
Councilor Kenneth Hays explained that revision of the ordinance was a complex issue with more than one point of view being offered by residents.
“We took this time to change this sign ordinance,” Hays told Kijowski. “You’re looking at it from your viewpoint.”
After lengthy debate about the use of balloons and pennants, the council unanimously approved the sign ordinance, along with wording revisions made Monday night.
Before Monday’s revision, business owners were required to pay a $25 permit fee for each 30-day period of banner ad use. An application could be made four times annually.
Now, with council approval, one $25 fee would be good for the entire year, but the 30-day banner periods would remain the same. There was debate on how the upkeep of the banners could be enforced, but no changes were made.
“We wanted to have banners,” said Randy Hise, who owns a mobile home lot on the boulevard, on Tuesday after the meeting. “I haven’t used them for more than a year. If they are kept nice, then, who cares?”
If business owners were expecting some major changes in the sign ordinance, it did not happen Monday night.
“There were really no significant changes in the sign ordinance, other than clarification on some of the issues that we talked about,” said Village Attorney David Chavez.
“This ordinance will be no more difficult to enforce than the existing one, because, basically, it’s the same ordinance that we had.”
Councilor Ginger Eldridge said that she liked the old ordinance and received many calls against the use of banner advertisements.
“I can’t begin to tell you how many people have called me, and told me ‘no pennants, no pennants,’ Eldridge said.
Councilor Wayne Ake favored more leniency in regard to sign use, but no changes were instituted.
“I don’t believe we should tell a man how to advertise his business,” Ake said in regards to regulating the types of banners used.
Joe Quintana, planning manager for the Mid-Region Council of Governments — formerly the Middle Rio Grande Council of Governments — attended Monday’s village meeting by request of the council. Quintana was consulted several times during the course of the meeting. When sign content was discussed, Quintana pointed out that content would be hard to regulate due to First Amendment rights.