Sign pollution problem plagues Manatee Co.

Manatee County, Florida -- They're seen as a distraction and an eyesore. Bright-colored signs waving in the wind. Some sit high, others down low with messages to draw you into the store. Aaron's furniture store's four wind wavers have been up for two years along Cortez Road.

"Like any business on Cortez Road we want our names out there like they do," say Manager Corey Casey of Aaron's.

Casey was unaware the signs are illegally posted, according to Keep Manatee Beautiful, until 10 News showed up.

"We have four wind wavers on the state right-of-way," says Ingrid McClellan with Keep Manatee Beautiful as she points to a picture of Aaron's signs.

McClelland says Aaron's needs a permit and is limited to two wind wavers for a 120-day period each year. She says the signs need to be 12 feet back from the property line under the county's revised temporary sign ordinance from 2011.

Click here for sign ordinance.

McClellan says the sign ordinance hasn't made any difference, "There is still a sign pollution problem in Manatee County."

McClellan has a stack of potential sign violations she says she's reported to code enforcement.

"We think code enforcement needs to be more proactive on our gateways and thoroughfares, and they're not."

10 News asked Casey if Code Enforcement had stopped by during the four years he's been manager to point out the signs.

He says, "Nobody, nobody has come here and told us these are not allowed or are in the wrong spot -- not once."

And if they had?

"I'd move them definitely," he says.

McClellan says the signs are a distraction to drivers and an eyesore.

"We do not see enough enforcement or enough compliance. Businesses need to be educated on what the new sign ordinance is."

Manatee County's building director John Barnott was not available for an interview Tuesday, but he did tell 10 News with 12 code enforcement officers covering a 730-square-mile area they are doing the best they can. He assures Keep Manatee Beautiful's complaints will be addressed.


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