LARGO, Fla. — UPDATE: Tuesday night, Largo leaders voted 5-2 in favor of a new plan to eventually force businesses to swap out their pole signs for on-the-ground monument signs. Businesses will still have to make the switch, but the city removed the June 5th deadline. Now, businesses will be required to remove the signs and replace them with monument signs when the properties are redeveloped, when a property becomes vacant or when a sign is damaged. A second reading is scheduled for April 2.
The change would impact more than 600 businesses in the city of Largo. The businesses have signs up on big poles throughout the city. Largo leaders want businesses to switch over to monument signs which are low to the ground.
City leaders argue the monument signs are less of a safety issue in a hurricane and they look better because there isn't as much "sign clutter.”
Back in 2007, the city voted that all businesses need to swap out their pole signs by 2014, but the downturn in the economy convinced them to extend the deadline until June 2019.
However, with 560 pole signs still unchanged, many business owners are begging the mayor and commissioners to get rid of the ordinance all together.
Others who have already replaced their pole signs argue that it’s unfair to do away with the change.
Businesses that have not complied say changing over their signs will cost them between $5,000 to $30,000. They also worry that the monument signs will be harder for customers to see.