Oro Valley's sign code policy, with its rules regarding after-hours lighting, "is stifling business during dire economic times," the Tucson Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce said in a release.

The chamber, with just under 2,000 members in the region, has formalized its opposition to the code. It joins the Northern Pima County Chamber of Commerce in urging Oro Valley to adopt less-restrictive policies regarding business lighting.

"Oro Valley has long held the reputation as being less than business-friendly," the Tucson chamber said in a release. "Now by enforcing an archaic sign ordinance that forces businesses to shut off their lighted signs at 10 p.m., it creates a situation of stifling businesses' ability to properly advertise their companies."

Oro Valley is "happy charging businesses taxes, but would prefer that they have no customers," the release continued.

The chamber points to the town council decision to use reserve funds to pay some payroll expenses during the new fiscal year.

"This was a compassionate action to take," the chamber said. "However, a stable sales tax base is a much better way to fund operations of the town. How ironic it is that Oro Valley would raise the utility tax and then tell businesses to turn their lights off.

"Allowing business owners to determine how long to keep their sign lit will not harm the quality of life for the citizens of Oro Valley," the release continued. "Running businesses out of town or worse, out of business, will be detrimental to everyone who lives or does business within Oro Valley."

Paul Parisi, vice president of governmental affairs, urged the town "to end enforcement of time-specific sign light enforcement.

"This brings to light, if I can use that term, that the entire Oro Valley sign code is severely outdated and needs to be improved in order to allow business to succeed," Parisi said.

Amanda Jacobs, economic development specialist for the town of Oro Valley, received a copy of the letter Monday.

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