Some of our Carolina blue buses are red.  Wells Fargo is paying to wrap some of our buses in red to showcase its renaming of Wachovia.  The town of Chapel Hill has sold the advertising space and is hoping to sell a lot more. 

     Whether or not it dismays you to see these giant moving billboards roll through town, we can’t ignore that the town needs revenue and this is potentially a big (pun intended) source.  I’m all for the town of Chapel Hill finding new sources of revenue.  
     Here’s where I get stuck:  don’t businesses have a right to increase revenue through advertising?  When defending the bus ads, several council members have alluded to the revenue boost.  Well, then, if businesses were allowed giant signs, they may pull in more customers which would translate to additional tax revenue for the town.  Much needed, right? 
     There are many regulations concerning commercial advertising in Chapel Hill.  I did my best to read all of them and I’m fairly sure no business is allowed a sign the size of a bus.  I’m also fairly certain they are not allowed to drive around town on a regular schedule.  
     So, how is it fair and equitable that the town gets to respond to these tough economic times but local businesses are not allowed to increase their visibility in the same way?  How are those giant buses driving around town less obtrusive than signs advertising stores?  
     I’m not advocating commercial signage become a free-for-all but I’m nonplussed at the town’s ability to look past the disparity in what it grants for itself versus its taxpaying business owners.  If local businesses believe larger signs would help them find additional revenue, why is it okay for the town to have big signs and not its businesses?
     Agree?  Disagree?  Share your thoughts by commenting below or write to me at