Big signs there, small signs here, happy people everywhere.

That's the result city leaders working to institute a new sign ordinance hope to achieve. To facilitate the decision, the city recently completed a poll of Centerville residents to determine how they would like their city to appear in the near future.The poll, which sampled 370 people, revealed that residents:

- Support allowing businesses to hawk their wares using signage.

- Would allow elevated pole signs, even though they might detract from a city's appearance. They should be limited to sites along interstates and in commercial/business areas.

- Support allowing current signs to remain.

- Highly oppose requiring pole signs.

- Were evenly divided about whether to require smaller, ground (monument) signs or giving businesses the choice between monument and pole signs.

Conflicts, as with most sign ordinances, lie in how much relative weight to give to business needs and aesthetic desires.

"The choice between a monument sign and large pole sign is easy," said Councilman Ron Russell. "But when you incorporate the needs of the business, there's got to be a compromise somewhere."

Primarily, the debate encompasses two areas, the city's gateway along Parrish Lane and the Main Street corridor.

For the gateway area, council members seem to agree that large pole signs are needed, especially near the I-15 interchange. The size and height maximums would most likely diminish as Parrish Lane progressed east, away from I-15.

"Any business that depends on freeway traffic should have the ability to advertise to travelers," said Councilwoman Francine Luczak.

Along Main, which still combines residences and businesses, many questions remain.

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"Main Street is critical to the aesthetics of the community," said Councilman Bill Nelson.

Although most council members agreed that Main should not have the commercial domination of Parrish Lane, implementing the rules for signage could prove difficult. For instance, some businesses lack the front landscaping to put in monument signs.

The entire council agreed strongly about the importance of the sign ordinance to the future of their community.

"As a council, we need to keep making the changes to keep our gateway attractive," Luczak said.

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