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Rules on banners to get more thought

(ran East edition)

An ordinance governing the types of signs allowed around the city is close to passage, but a controversial prohibition on banners will probably be amended first.

City commissioners heard Tuesday from several residents who object to discontinuing banners that hang over U.S. 301 promoting downtown festivals throughout the year.

"People who come through downtown Dade City have grown accustomed to seeing those banners," said Pete Odom. "I support the banners. I support them over the street."

But city officials say hanging the banners, which advertise such events as the Christmas Stroll and Kumquat Festival, is both costly and dangerous for city crews.

The ordinance, similar to one in effect in Pasco County, covers all types of outdoor signs. It prohibits billboards, revolving signs and inflatable signs, among others.

Mayor Hutch Brock said the commission seemed to be in agreement on all issues but the banners. At his urging, commissioners approved the ordinance but directed the city staff to work on compromises and other suggestions that might allow banners to continue to be used in some form.

"We've got some homework to do," Brock said.