Size matters: Alabama city orders gym owner to remove controversial sign
PELL CITY, Ala. (WBMA) - A Pell City business owner's sign is causing quite the discussion around town. Two days after the owner put up the sign, the city ordered him to remove it.
Pell City Fitness owner Scott Campbell says he never wanted to offend anyone by his sign. It says "Tired of being fat and ugly? Just be ugly!" He says he just wanted to help motivate people to meet their health goals, and he doesn't know how everything went left so fast.
Campbell says he's had a sign in front of his gym since it opened in July 2017. Nine months later, when he swapped the sign for the one visible here, he received a call from the city ordering him to remove it within 24 hours.
He says he asked several times for an explanation of what was wrong with the sign and what policies it violated. He says the city eventually told him it was too big and that he must go through additional paperwork to get the sign approved and permitted.
"We opened the business and I want to help people. People can't find me, I can't help them. It has been frustrating to go through this whole process," Campbell said. "I wasn't aware of any regulations that were in place to have signs in front of your business. [I] didn't know anything about the size specifications."
WBMA's Amber Grigley received a statement from Pell City's City Manager Brian Muenger confirming that a permit is needed in order to have a sign in front of your business. Grigley also asked several other businesses about this permit, but in fear of receiving backlash, they did not go on camera. The anonymous sources confirmed they are neither familiar with the permit requirement, nor do they have one.
Grigley filed an open records request to the city to see how many businesses actually have a sign permit. She is awaiting those records.