- Associated Press - Sunday, January 31, 2016

WILLISTON, N.D. (AP) - Williston could see fewer neon-colored signs that are frequently used by businesses under proposed changes.

A closed-door meeting was held earlier this month for heads of the city’s planning department and those representing the Builders Association, the Realtors Association, and the Chamber of Commerce to hear proposed changes to the city’s signage ordinance, the Williston Herald (https://bit.ly/1PyWqtb ) reported.

In an effort to create a sense of permanence in the city, senior planner Rachel Laqua said she had compiled surveys from the community and had made changes based on what the community was asking for. One of the biggest changes would be a limitation on the amount of time a portable sign can be used to advertise certain events, sales or specials.

The changes are based on a comprehensive plan that was adopted before the oil boom.

Large billboard signs with neon lettering are offered by One Stop Trailerz. The business was opened 18 years ago by Neal Slaaen, who estimates it has offered the large signs for 12 years. His mother, Pat, attended the closed-door meeting in his place.

“It isn’t our only source of income, but it is the only constant source right now,” Pat Slaaen said. “It’s what keeps the lights on.”

Neal Slaaen said such an ordinance change would result in people not knowing what’s happening in the community and where they could spend their money.

“I think we just need to sit down together and see what we can come up with,” he said.

Laqua said the meeting was meant for feedback and that changes are nowhere near ready to go before the Planning and Zoning Commission.

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