"Local governments traditionally regulate the size, number and types of business signs in their communities, aiming to preserve aesthetics and minimizing distractions to motorists. Some planning experts say that relaxing restrictions could be detrimental.
'I don't think compromising your standards on aesthetics is necessary to address economic hard times,' says Lora Lucero, staff attorney at the American Planning Association. 'I hope they're cautious because once you've made a change like that, it's very hard to roll back in the future.'
Last month in San Angelo, Texas, efforts by planning officials to get the City Council to restrict banners and electronic signs were rejected or questioned, a stance planners say was likely influenced by the economic crisis.
'If the city staff's recommendations to tighten the regulations would've been brought to the City Council three years ago, we would have had a much different outcome,' says Shawn Lewis, director of the city's planning and development services."