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Sign ordinance includes compliance period

April 6, 2011

By PAUL SIMS
sdnnews@bellsouth.net

The city’s newly adopted sign ordinance will allow up to 10 years for those whose signs don’t meet its standards to come into compliance, though it may come at a cost to some.
Starkville’s Board of Aldermen voted 4-3 to approve the ordinance’s changes, which included an amortization process for non-conforming signs.
Ward 1 Alderman Ben Carver said his only problem with the sign ordinance is the amortization clause.
Carver says a businessman with $140,000 worth of signs in the city contacted him Tuesday about the ordinance.
“Can you imagine that? These are tough times for making a man change his sign which has no direct benefit to his business, and at the end of the day that’s just money out of their pockets,” Carver said.
Reagan Ford operates Ford Vision Clinic on Highway 12. His business has a sign along the highway.
“I think you need to think about people that are in business. It’s nice to have a pretty community, but people that are paying taxes – and a lot of them are paying taxes – you’re taxing them again on something that you want to make something pretty,” Ford said.
Mayor Parker Wiseman told Ford all signs would have to comply with the regulations in 10 years. “The city recognizes that people in some instances have invested quite a bit of money in those signs and there may be some cost in bringing the signs into conformity with the new standard of the ordinance,” he said.
In other matters, the board:
u Accepted Placemakers LLC as the developers of a master plan and form-based code for portions of downtown Starkville and authorized contract negotiations with the firm. Form-based codes will allow developers to follow specific guidelines laid out under the codes. Advocates have said the procedure will streamline the administrative process for development and act as an overlay on top of existing codes in the designated areas, ultimately with the aim of higher-quality projects.
u Adopted a capital improvement plan for the year and will go out for bid on the projects. These include patching and overlay work on 21 streets, drainage projects – to include one on Maple Drive and another on Carver Drive – and a road reconstruction on Central Avenue. The budget for this year is $700,000.
u Agreed to allow Wiseman to sign a cost-plus fixed fee engineering contract with Smith Seckman Reid/ Kimley Horne to provide engineering services for a traffic study on South Montgomery Street at a cost of $49,981.95. The firm will document existing traffic conditions, analyze crash information, work to predict future traffic volume and develop improvement alternatives, addressing such subjects as capacity and safety for those driving vehicles as well as pedestrians and bicyclists, according to documentation related to the effort.
u Voted 4-3 to appoint Chris Gottbrath, Dorothy Isaac and Dennis Nordin to the city’s Transportation Committee and Jerrie McIngvale and Tiffany Hamlin to the city’s Commission on Disability.
u Granted a request by Herman Ashford to use property on the Highway 25 bypass for multi-family townhouses. The land, located about 1.3 miles south of Highway 12, is in a general business zone.
u Allowed the development of a Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints on Abernathy Drive, also located in an area designated for general business.
u Approved a final plat on Court Square Condominiums on Court Square presented by Greg Russell.
u Agreed to Mitch Mitchell’s request for residential use in a general business zone on Col. Muldrow Drive.
u Heard Wiseman introduce six new city employees in the Sanitation and Environmental Services Department – laborers Carves Ellis, Steven Lane, Chad Robinson and Theodis Weaver and drivers Glenn Hayes and Daryl Jordan.
u Listened as Wiseman recognize the Public Services Department for operating two years without a lost-time injury or accident.
u Heard Wiseman mention the receipt of 50 recycling containers for placement throughout the city as well as four public service commercials on the recycling program which will begin airing this week.
u Approved a new logo for Sanitation and Environmental Services.
u Met in executive session on a personnel matter.

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