TUPELO CODE ENFORCEMENT: A trio of common commercial code violations

By Emily Le Coz/NEMS Daily Journal

TUPELO – Homeowners can relax today; this code-enforcement story focuses solely on commercial properties.
As the city continues its summertime push for compliance with its codes, it issued a trio of the most common violations among business owners.
• Stores cannot advertise beer. No signs about beer facing outdoors, no beer displays in the window, no mention of beer on the digital signs outside. Keep it all indoors, and keep it discrete.
“We’ve had a few issues,” said city Zoning Administrator Marilyn Vail. “It can’t be visible from the outside of the building.”
Package stores, however, can advertise wine and spirits because that’s governed by the state and not the city.
• Businesses can’t plaster their windows with posters, banners or other promotional material. The city code limits it to 30 percent of the total window surface.
“That has been a problem, especially with a lot of chain businesses whose corporate owners send them banners,” Vail said. “The sign ordinance was created to create more uniform look and level the playing field, so mom-and-pop business are on the same playing field as the chains.”
• Respect the municipal right of way. Businesses must keep signs, merchandise and storage at least 15 feet from the curb. Vail said this is a common violation among car dealerships and real-estate agents.
Dealerships sometimes inch their cars closer and closer to the curb so they’re more visible to passersby. Real estate agents do the same thing with their For Sale signs, Vail said.
Like all code violations, officers almost always issue a warning first. But repeat offenders risk up to $1,000 in fines and some jail time.

About The Series
THIS IS THE FINAL STORY in a series about common Tupelo code violations heavily targeted this summer by the city. The first stories were about house numbers, yard parking, signs and banners, junk vehicles, outdoor storage, lot mowing, fences, trash bins and landscape maintenance.

NEXT WEEK: An update about city code-enforcement efforts to date.

TO ASK a question or report code violations, call the Tupelo Development Services Department at (662) 841-6510 and ask to speak to the Code Enforcement Division.

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