Tuesday, February 20, 2018
News Roundup

St. Petersburg decides sign wavers can dance on

ST. PETERSBURG — Sign wavers can still spin, shake and jump on street corners.

The City Council approved new regulations for commercial signs on Thursday, but without an earlier caveat that would have banned human billboards from twisting and dancing.

Council members directed city staffers to tweak the proposal to allow sign wavers to continue to move freely while advertising businesses. Business owners and sign wavers had urged the council to protect their freedom.

No dancing chickens or Lady Liberties attended the meeting, but a few residents offered opposing views on the sign spinners.

Amir Lashgari urged the council to ban the human billboards. They contribute to blight along the roadways, he said.

"I used to call Fourth Street 'Freak Street,' " he said. "Now you want to make it a circus."

David McKalip, a local surgeon and activist, warned the council that sign wavers depend on their income. He criticized city staffers for wanting to add more regulations on signs.

"This is all about aesthetics," he said. "This is all about a few people who think they know better."

The new ordinance will force the human billboards to stay at least 5 feet away from the street. They also will not be allowed to advertise from stilts, vehicles or rooftops.

Council member Charlie Gerdes supported sign spinning, but cast the lone no vote on the legislation. He disagreed with a portion that regulated electronic messages on business signs.

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