HELEN - After months of discussion - including heated comments from some merchants and even the threat of a lawsuit against the city by the owner of multiple businesses - the Helen City Commission has approved a new sign ordinance.
At Tuesday afternoon's meeting, the commission voted unanimously to approve the ordinance amendment without hearing public comments at the time.
As Mayor Judy Holloway was about to close the public portion of the meeting, some city business owners said they wanted to comment about the sign ordinance. Most just wanted to make sure their business could comply with their specific stipulations of the ordinance.
The amendment specifically addresses internally-illuminated signs, including neon, which have emerged in the city in recent years though they were not permitted by local ordinance.
At Tuesday's meeting, City Manager Jerry Elkins said city officials will work, within reason, with the businesses.
The discussion about the sign ordinance led to other business owners calling on the commission to help promote the city to bring in more tourists - especially during the winter months.
Commission members said they work with the Helen Chamber of Commerce and the Alpine Helen-White County Convention and Visitors Bureau to fund marketing efforts.