City approves revised sign ordinance with historic sign clause

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

New language creates historic sign category

After nearly two years of adjustments and changes, the city of Cassville passed an updated sign ordinance recently, also creating a historic sign category that will allow some older, out-of-compliance signs to stay in place.

Bill Shiveley, mayor of Cassville, said the revised ordinance is more modern and the historic sign exemption will allow certain signs to stay in place.

"We created the historic sign portion, which says a sign put up before a certain date may stay up, so long as it is not changed," he said. "The Cassville Bowl sign, LeCompte's Lumber sign and Barry County Hotel sign near Ellis, Cupps and Cole, would all fall into that category."

Shiveley said businesses with historic signs may also put up a second sign, which would allow Rick Steiner, manager and partial owner of Cassville Bowl, to put up an LED sign he has had since November 2013. However, to meet the historical sign requirement for his current sign, Steiner will have to revert it to its original state, which will entail taking off some of the lights recently added.

"Basically, the big changes we made allow for historical signs, give certain signs a larger square footage to use, and we will now allow message board signs in certain zoning areas," Shiveley said. While the updates have made some of the historical signs compliant, there are still about a dozen signs that will be out of compliance with the ordinance.

"A lot of signs are out of compliance because they don't have a base, but we also expanded the base options to help those business-owners get in compliance," Shiveley said. "Some other signs are too large, but we did make the square footage larger for all signs. It will be up to the city council and prosecutor to determine what to do about signs that continue to remain out of compliance."

Steiner said he is happy with the progress that has been made with the ordinance, even if the timeline ran a little long.

"I'm pleased it finally worked out, not really with the time frame, but I understand it's a democratic process," he said. "I also hope we can keep going and amend the ordinance again to add a C3 designation."

Steiner said his LED sign, which has been in his garage unused since January 2014, will hopefully be put up by the end of the month, as Steiner received his permit on Friday. He plans to make it a ground sign at first, which limits it to only 10 feet in height and requires a border be placed around the edges.

He is hoping to continue working with the planning and zoning commission to create a C3 designation for businesses on the outskirts of town with larger signs.

"I am in C2 right now, which is pretty much all the businesses except for the ones on the square, which are C1," he said. "The businesses on the outside of town need to be put in a different zone, because there's places like Walmart and Baywash [on Old Exeter Road] with pole signs that will be illegal. So, unless we create a C3 zone, they would have to change their signs."

Shiveley said he is happy to update the ordinance, which has been debated since September 2013.

"It's a big weight off our shoulders," he said. "I know there were some issues, but when you spend a lot of time on things like signs, trash, dogs or weeds, that takes away from time needed to deal with the water, sewer and streets. If you spend all your time dealing with the little stuff, you'll never get to the bigger stuff like you need to, and things like water, sewer and streets are what helps the economic development of the city."

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