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Village Vision News

Trustees face signage decision

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Trustees seek to solve a dilemma faced by business owners who want to change or replace older signs that are in violation of current Village regulations.

At issue are pole signs constructed before adoption of the existing sign ordinance which says that all freestanding signs should be monument signs between six and eight feet in height. The Village’s 2002 long-range comprehensive plan seeks to eliminate all pole signs “…which do not enhance the aesthetic quality or character of the Village.”

A recent Board decision, supported by a Plan Commission recommendation, denied a request for a non-conforming sign at Power Wash Services that would exceed the maximum height allowed and encroach into a side yard setback. The commission justified its recommendation by citing the Village’s zoning ordinance and comprehensive plan which, according to Village Administrator Heather Kimmons, could likely change in the future.

“Our [present] long-range plan is clear … we don’t have much of a choice here; we have what we have,” Kimmons recently told trustees in support of the commission’s recommendation. She added that staff’s goal is to get started on an update to the plan that could result in other options for business owners with properties parallel to Rt. 51.

As part of the sign discussion, Kimmons alerted trustees that Mc- Donald’s plans a rebuild at its current location and will be asking for multiple special use permits, including a request to retain its own non-conforming tall pole sign.

Trustee Eric Morr said he was interested in staff solving the problem of “…second-tier signage” for businesses located off Rt. 51, but, likewise, said that tall signs must be eliminated.

Trustee Bob Rasho offered that the Village should be consistent with its ordinances and cited the need to advise McDonald’s and “…let them know up front so there are no misunderstandings.” Mayor Hap Gilbert countered with a more liberal approach in saying that, as a seasoned interstate traveler, he appreciates the visibility offered by the bigger, taller signs.

Trustee Steve Hubbard said he does not like tall signs, but his probusiness philosophy prompted him to remind trustees of the significant revenue loss that Power Wash Services has attributed to the loss of its traditional signage. At the July 5 Board meeting, Hubbard and fellow trustee Larry Reed had opposed the majority of trustees who voted to deny the taller sign at Power Wash. Trustee Rasho said the Board’s denial was not indicative of an antibusiness attitude.

In a later interview, Mayor Gilbert said his opinion on taller signs remains unchanged from his earlier comments. “I will make the same plea in the future as we address this issue,” he said.

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