Council: Digital Signs Not Good For Gulfport

Business owners in South Mississippi are using electronic media as their new form of advertisement. But some council members with the city of Gulfport aren't too thrilled about the billboards.

If you travel along South Mississippi Highways, it's hard to miss the big billboards advertising local business. The latest form of outdoor advertising is the electronic billboard.

However members of the community and Gulfport city council have their doubts about the signage.

"The one on the beach is so bright, I can see that that will be a safety issue," says Councilwoman Barbara Nalley.

In a unanimous vote, council approved a 90 day sign moratorium on outdoor advertising signs. A proposal council member Brian Carriere is backing 100 percent.

"We are starting to see the on premise LED signs as well and I am of the opinion like I said earlier, that the city needs to be consistent and I am one from the city that's going to be consistent," Carriere said.

Proponents of the LED Billboards say they are easy to view both day and night, they are easily programmed and you can fit as many as eight different advertising messages on one screen.

Attorney David Goeff represents Lamar Outdoor Advertising, a company that houses many of Gulfport's paper and electronic billboards. They say the moratorium will effect several businesses on the coast. But Carriere says there may be a solution. It's called the cap and replace policy, which means the city would put a cap on the number of signs it allows and if a firm wants to replace a billboard, they would have to remove other signage.

It's something Carriere says council members will discuss in hopes of bringing back the historic feel of the city of Gulfport.

Carriere says that council already has amendments that they are ready to put in place but they must first go through the planning commission process. The item may re-appear on the agenda as early as the next council meeting.

Also at Tuesday's meeting, council members passed a resolution to declare the city's intent to sell general obligation bonds. The bonds will be used for construction and land purchase of a municipal building. The bonds will not exceed $10 million.