Archive for Thursday, September 29, 2005

Eudora City Council agrees to study sign ordinance

September 29, 2005

Eudora might soon be getting updated sign language.

During Monday's meeting, the City Council agreed to hold a study session to start revamping the city's sign ordinances.

The initiative came from two angles, first to look into what it might take to advertise on the sides of Kansas Highway 10 and clarification for which signs should be considered 'community interest.'

Eudora Mayor Tom Pyle brought up the first issue and told the council he thought the current sign ordinances were too restrictive.

"We don't have a chance and we're looking for business here in Eudora, and they can't advertise," Pyle said.

As far as signs outside the city, other entities such as the Kansas Department of Transportation or Douglas County might need to get involved.

Because that's the case with Kansas Highway 10, the council might not have the ability to go far, at least not right now.

"The K-10 Corridor is another whole issue that is controlled by KDOT and the K-10 Corridor group," said City Administrator Cheryl Beatty. "I'm not sure changing our ordinance will get us very far on that."

Next, the council tackled how to define 'community interest,' signs which stemmed from the city receiving a complaint requesting the removal of signs not in compliance with the ordinance.

That led to a brainstorming session on the definition of community interest.

"As far as a sign of community interest, it will be something that benefits the community or a non-profit organization," said councilman Bill Whitten.

The council agreed that a sign would be out of compliance if it lists both its location and telephone number along with its support of a non-profit event.

A sign for a legitimate public event would be out of compliance if it caused a safety issue, for instance blocking the line of sight on a public road.

The city had to remove one sign earlier in the week, but it might not have been necessary.

"All they needed to do is simply move it," Beatty said.

Because of the wording of the city's ordinance, all the banners lining the fence of Laws Field were out of compliance.

Beatty said they wouldn't have to go if they were flipped around to face the stadium.

The council agreed to notify the Cardinal 12th Man group, which maintains the signs at the field, and the banners have already been reversed to face the stadium.

"At least they would be up for the games," Beatty said. "In the long term I need to clarify the ordinance."

Eudora's current sign ordinances were copied from those in Lawrence.

Because discrepancies between a town of Eudora's size and one the size of Lawrence might account for the town's growing pains, council members will look at the sign ordinances from neighboring towns like De Soto or Baldwin.

The council will investigate the other side of the issue as well.

Beatty said she would look into Eudora's role within the K-10 Corridor and feel out the possibility of advertising on the side of the highway.

"We are a sovereign city and I think the city of Eudora should fight this law and if people have the money or the permission of people who own land along the highway who want to put up signs, then they should be able to," Pyle said.

Once they've constructed a continuum of sign ordinances and delved into the K- 10 question, the council will work on clarifying Eudora's sign issues.

The city has not yet set a date to discuss the ordinances.

"It's a big issue every city has problems with," Beatty said.

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