DeRidder businessman claims City Council using him for politics

By By Lauren Manary / American Press

A DeRidder businessman said the City Council is only overhauling its ordinances on signs because he wants to raise a billboard

and that the group failed to make good on a promise to him when he sought to rezone property to allow for billboards.

“I just shouldn’t be held hostage,”

said Sherrod Delia of Delia Outdoor Advertising. “I mean, they’re using

this basically

as leverage to get the city to move one way or the other. Why do I

have to be caught in the middle of their procrastination?”

At their Aug. 12 regular meeting, council members approved the rezoning. But because Delia wants to have a sign larger than

the maximum 64 square feet allowed, he must get a variance from the council.

Members have taken no action on signs

since the property was rezoned from residential/low-traffic businesses

to straight commercial.

City Council President Joseph Siciliano said he plans to introduce an ordinance that would up the maximum sign size to 300

square feet — the area of the sign Delia wants to put up.

“I just want a standard. I don’t think we should be just giving away variances,” Siciliano said. “I think that’s wrong. I’m

sure when you drive through DeRidder and see the signs, they’re in a whole bunch of disarray.”

He said he’s been working with council member Gordon Jenkins and the Public Works Department director to draft a new ordinance.

There was no word on when it would come to the council for a vote.