Local business owners upset over recent enforcement of sign ordinances

Local business owners upset over recent enforcement of sign ordinances
Bottle Bungalow without signs (Source: Karen Murray)
Bottle Bungalow without signs (Source: Karen Murray)

LONGS, SC (WMBF) - Some local businesses tell WMBF News, they were shocked two weeks ago when they got a warning from the county telling them to take down signs they've had for years.

Bottle Bungalow has had advertising signs up on their porch since they had them professionally made in 2010.

On November 28, they were served with a warning from the Horry County Planning and Zoning Department, stating they had 7 days to take them down or risk a court summons.

"The signs have been here since 2010, we've never had a problem with any ordinances, nobody came by to say we couldn't have them - until now," said Timothy Mitchell, one of the owners.

Their store is unique, sitting just off Highway 9, the building is an old house.

"It's kinda unique, our building is a house. So when they go by and they're looking over it just looks like a house....and I'm sure it's gonna cut our business down a whole lot," Mitchell said.

Karen Murray, the other owner of Bottle Bungalow, said a lot of their business comes from people who are getting gas across the street.

The Market Express across the street was also served with a warning to take down their flying signs. The manager, Heather Uribe, has worked there for 17 hers and she said the same signs have been up since she started.

"We've had signs beside the road since I started here….we have the flying signs to show what brand we are….they made us take them down….they told us that it could distract drivers and that's why they made us take them down," she said.

Less than a mile down the road is a produce stand that flies the same kind of flags. The owner of the produce stand said no one had been by to tell him to take them down, but he expects they will soon.

"We've been to four or five businesses we have relationships with. They still have their signs and their flags and they said no one from the county has been to their business at all," Mitchell said.

The county has said there is no new initiative to crack down on signs, but rather there is an "ongoing effort to clean up major highways."

The owners of Bottle Bungalow could get permits for their signs, however, they're not allowed to be on the porch. They could be mounted to the wall, but only 15%.

"I understand if they don't want the flag signs out by the road but as long as we can have permanent signs mounted to the building, we would be extremely happy," Mitchell said.

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