Chesterfield business charged over signs - NBC12 - WWBT - Richmond, VA News On Your Side

Chesterfield business charged over signs

CHESTERFIELD, VA (WWBT) -

The owner of a Chesterfield business has been slammed with charges after she violated the county's sign ordinance. Now, she's meeting her accusers in court because she says, Chesterfield is not being small business friendly.

Sara Benton opened A & T Auto and Truck Repair on Old Stage Road back in July. Soon thereafter, she was given a warning by County officials over several signs she had posted on and near her business.

"We're a small business," said Benton. "We've got banners because of course we can afford those. They're $100 to $200 a piece versus thousands of dollars."

Plus, a business needs a permit to obtain the type of sign the County requires.

County code prohibits displaying banners more than sixty days a year. Portable signs are also banned, which Benton has in her yard.

Benton says, the other option would attract the wrong kind of attention - by displaying colorful pennants and balloons.

"That would look like a three-ring circus! That would not look like an auto-repair shop, which is what we are."

Ted Barclay with Chesterfield County Community Development defends the ordinance saying, it's written for safety and aesthetics.

"If you have a whole lot of portable signs on your property it will be distracting to motorists," said Barclay. "It could create a visibility issue if it blocks someone's view."

Benton is due in court on November 20.

Meanwhile, Chesterfield County receives about 1,000 tips on sign violations a year.

In August, charges were dropped by Chesterfield against Family Coin and Jewelry, a business with an unusual way of advertising.

Family Coin had hired girls to dance along Iron Bridge Road to advertise. However, the girls were considered portable signs and violated county code.

The owner agreed to drop the dancing girls so the charges against him were dropped as well.

Copyright 2012 WWBT NBC12.  All rights reserved.

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