Neon signs may soon be a thing of the past in this city.
On July 12, a resolution that would have directed code enforcement to refrain from enforcing the ban on neon signs failed to find support from the commission. Under the current code, neon signs are banned. “Today it’s neon signs. But what’s next?” asked Vice Mayor Scott Newton.
Commander Gary Blocker said code enforcement would schedule a meeting with city staff members so “we’re all on the same page and identify what direction the city wants to go in.” Mayor Gary Resnick said not enforcing the regulations on neon signs could lead to their proliferation in residential areas.
Resident and business owner Nick Berry called the neon sign ban “anti-business” and said the commission had an “opportunity to be pro-business” by letting the signs stay in place.
Commissioner Julie Carson said she counted 176 neon displays on Wilton Drive, with most of them being “open” signs. “Nobody really knows if you’re open [without a sign]. That’s not what I want to happen.”
Sal Torre, president of the Westside Association of Wilton Manors, said the city was sending “very mixed messages” by debating whether or not to enforce its own code. Commissioner Justin Flippen said the entire code section on signs should be rewritten so that the commission doesn’t have to repeatedly address similar issues.
After the city reviews its sign rules, allowing neon could be one of the suggestions approved by the commission but Resnick expressed a desire to forego neon in favor of LED signs, which are much more energy efficient. “We have a green building code. Neon is the most un-green thing you can do.”