The City Council has approved an exemption to its freeze on sign construction that allows new signs to be built if they meet a rigorous set of restrictions.
Until the council's unanimous decision last week, a moratorium on signs instituted last November had prevented city businessmen from installing new signs. The council has been working on an interim sign ordinance, but merchants complained that they were paralyzed while waiting for the law to be passed.
Under the exemption, merchants are forbidden to build roof and pole signs and billboards but they may install other kinds of signs, such as construction, political campaign, real estate, service station and public information signs.
"It's an innovative way for the council to allow new businesses to put up signs and to allow existing businesses to put up new signs while protecting the city in the interim," said Mark Winogrond, the city's director of community development.