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Lawyer to look over new sign ordinance

The county wants to make sure there are no flaws that could be challenged in court.

By Times staff writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published May 31, 2002

WESLEY CHAPEL -- Pasco County's new sign ordinance, designed to spare roads some of the commercial clutter of U.S. 19, won't hit the books until the county is sure the document can withstand legal challenges.

Questioned by County Commissioner Pat Mulieri on Wednesday night, County Administrator John Gallagher said he planned to hire an outside attorney to pick over the ordinance for flaws.

Nobody wants the ordinance approved more than he, Gallagher said, but the rules need to be defensible in court.

Mulieri was reacting to complaints that the ordinance had been derailed after its main author, planner Rick Lambert, quit his county job this month.

The goal is to reduce the number, size, intrusiveness and ugliness of business signs. Pasco's inspiration is the New Tampa section of Bruce B. Downs Boulevard, where ground-hugging monument signs, rather than towering pole signs, are the rule.

Mulieri said the county needed the ordinance before developers built shopping centers along Bruce B. Downs Boulevard, State Road 56 and other roads.

Some of her constituents in Wesley Chapel are afraid "we're not going to get New Tampa, we're going to get Old Pasco," she said.

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