What has gone up may not necessarily have to come down.
Local business owners packed the Council Chambers at City Hall Thursday night to discuss potential changes to the sign ordinance in a joint work session of the Brazil Plan Commission and the City Council.
"We are not here to only consider local business owner's concerns, but those of the sign businesses as well," Brazil City Planning Administrator Michele Altman said. "We are not outlawing anything."
When the City of Brazil recently began policing the ordinance, which had gone years without enforcement, it caused an uproar.
"You came and demanded that we take down our signs in six days or you would start fining us $500 a day," one business owner said. "That is not good business administration from the city."
While many in attendance came to voice their complaints, everyone was in a consensus agreement that changes needed to be made.
"I am sure we can come up with a common sense formula to fix the problems this has caused," Brazil City Attorney Bob Pell said. "The only thing I know to do is to go through, sentence by sentence, and redraft the ordinance."
Two of the biggest issues brought up for discussion regarded portable signs and large signs on the sides buildings.
Another business owner said her painted sign helps draw customers to the small building her establishment occupies.
A discussion then ensued about how to make portable signs uniform in nature, but Altman said the ordinance, while too strict, also needed to be a bit more specific.
"We need to look into breaking down the term 'portable signs' because there are the A-frame signs and other types of signs that need to be clarified," she said. "I don't like the idea of having them out only 30 days during the year, but a variance can always be applied for."
Council member Steve Lamb said a major reason problems like this arise on such a large scale is the lack of participation on the community's part.
"We have had two meetings where we discussed the sign ordinance before now," he said. "The thing is that people don't want to show up until they have a problem with something."
The majority of the business owners wanted a new ordinance drawn up quickly, and the city is giving them a chance to bring a memo to the Mayor's Office by Tuesday, outlining suggestions for what is needed.
For the time being, however, the current sign ordinance remains intact while Pell prepares a rough draft, which he plans to have done in about two weeks.
"Once we finish the draft, we will put a notice out stating people can come by City Hall to look at it and give feedback," he said. "It is tough to get things worked out in a large group and, this way, everyone will have a chance to give some ideas for what the ordinance should have in it."
To view the sign ordinance, or any other city ordinances, visit the city's web site at www.brazil.in.gov, and click on the "City Ordinances" heading.