Proposed sign ordinance stalled

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City approved first reading, but fiscal court did not

By Shelley Spillman

The new city, county and chamber of commerce sign ordinance efforts came to a screeching halt when the fiscal court failed to approved the first reading Tuesday of last week.

The old sign ordinances have been criticized for being too vague and far too open for interpretation. A committee was put together to revise the old sign ordinances, which made the former five-page sign ordinance to a 30-page document designed to be more clear and concise.

Fiscal court made two changes to the ordinance last week. They changed a portion of the Off-site freestanding sign/billboards sections to clearly outline that no more than four billboards are permitted at the U.S. 127/Bluegrass Parkway Interchange area and only four billboards are permitted at Exit 48 of the Bluegrass Parkway Interchange Area. Prior, the ordinance stated that a total of eight billboards for each side to be permitted, but the magistrates were concerned that may be interpreted as eight signs on each side and not four on each side for a total of eight billboards.

Fiscal court also amended the section five of the Off-site freestanding signs/billboards section to remove the language “and purchase of usage rights” from the following sentence “Anderson County Fiscal Court shall exercise final authority as related to the establishment and purchase of usage rights, fees and administrative processes for billboards.”

When the first reading came to vote, half of the fiscal court magistrates approved the first reading of the sign ordinances while the other half did not approve the ordinance, making the vote fail.

The Lawrenceburg City Council unanimously approved the first reading of new sign ordinances in their regular session Monday of last week.

“The council felt like it was a very good ordinance,” said Mayor Edwinna Baker. “The council felt that the committee worked very hard on the ordinances and wanted to show their support.”

Anderson County Judge Executive John Wayne Conway said he thinks the first reading of the ordinance failed because some of the magistrates feel the new sign ordinances have too much local government regulation. He said it’s a big change to go from a five-page document to a 30-page document.

Conway said he expects the first reading to come up again in the near future.

Time is of the essence, fiscal court has 90 days to approve the ordinances or it goes back to the planning commission. Since this is a joint city and county venture, it cannot move forward until both parties approve the sign ordinance.