Archive for Thursday, June 22, 2006

Sign ordinances to return to council agenda

June 22, 2006

Sign, sign everywhere a new sign ordinance.

It took nine months and both a recommendation from the Eudora Planning Commission and ultimately direction from the Eudora City Council, but the city will soon have an updated set of sign codes.

"I don't know if it's perfect, but I do know there's been a lot of hard work put in it," Councilman Bill Whitten said.

After brief discussion, the council directed City Attorney Jerry Cooley to draft an ordinance officially adopting the new standards. The council will vote to officially adopt them at its June 25 meeting.

Even before being subjected to a bipartisan discussion between the council and the commission, the issue had an effect on the city last fall.

A line of advertisements supporting the Eudora High School football team had to be turned around from their position facing Church Street because they didn't fit into code. Also the addresses adorning plaques of local businesses on a welcome sign funded by the Eudora Chamber of Commerce had to be painted over.

Although the addresses will return ---- thanks to an exception to the code ---- the city will now have strong civil ground to stand on if future problems arise.

"I think this is nice and that this is well done," Eudora Planning Commission Chairman Kurt von Achen said during the commission's June 7 meeting. "It has detail that has been put into the description that is as good as I remember."

Among the sections revamped are rules regarding temporary signs, billboards and signs located on private property.

The planning commission will be the first stop to hear issues arising from interpretation of the new codes.

"It puts it into your responsibility as a planning commission to function as you do on other zoning matters which is to recommend to the governing body if there is to be a change," City planning consultant Scott Michie of Bucher Willis & Ratcliff said as the commission heard the codes.

A key philosophy behind the codes was to keep Eudora as clear and uncluttered as possible. Signs for businesses must by and large be on their own property.

"It's a pretty thorough treatment of the overall approach," Michie said.

Although cramping clutter was a basic tenet of the code, limited signage along the Kansas Highway 10 corridor would be allowed.

"With significant restrictions," Michie said.

The planning commission offered the public a chance give its opinion on the new code.

Brian Fuller of Full Brite Sign and Lighting asked where copies of the new code could be found. After telling Fuller that copies were available at the Eudora Public Library, Michie provided him with an extra copy.

The majority of public input centered on representatives from the Chamber of Commerce asking the commission for the exception.

Former Chamber president Theresa Abel spoke first.

Abel explained the welcome signs had been an ongoing project for the last three years.

"I would certainly appreciate getting to put this project to rest," Abel said.

Current chamber president Karin Dougherty also asked the commission for an exception.

Dougherty said the chamber appreciated the clean cityscape resulting from the code.

"But as a chamber of commerce we're here to promote economic development," Dougherty said.

After public comment ended, the commission voted unanimously to approve its positive recommendation to the city council.

The Council will revisit the sign ordinance Monday.

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