• New committe in Danville will review the town’s sign ordinance

    March 16, 2012 No comments

    The Danville plan commission has voted unanimously to convene a committee that will study the town’s sign ordinance and determine whether any changes need to be made.

    In a story by Wade Coggeshall in today’s Hendricks County Flyer, he reports that the move was made after Town Councilman Dennis Wynn told his fellow board members that he was hearing from a lot of residents that Danville’s town government is anti-business when it comes to regulations, specifically with signs.

    In February the town council approved requesting the plan commission conduct a public hearing on Danville’s sign regulations at its March meeting. The forum drew several local business owners and non-profit leaders.

    Dave Byrdwell has operated Dave’s All American Pizza in Danville for 36 years. In his opinion, the current ordinance is too restrictive and the process through which to get an approved sign too cumbersome. He’d like to see no new regulations passed without input from business owners and some flexibility in the zoning.

    He reminded the plan commission that businesses such as his are the lifeblood of the community – generating tax revenue that runs the town as well as aiding citizens through sponsorships and donations. Hindering business, he says, does everyone a disservice.

    The concern isn’t just coming from business owners. The Rev. Jeremy VanLue of Abundant Life – The House of Mercy says his church tried to get a new sign after the old one was knocked down by weather, but were restricted in what they could do because of zoning.

    Kevin Dogan, Danville’s legal counsel, noted how multiple people at the meeting called for flexibility in the law so that requests could be considered on a case-by-case basis.

    “That sounds good, but could present problems under the law,” he said, adding that zoning is limited to certain standards by the courts. It must be reasonable, but specific and uniform in its application.

    For those whose requests are denied, there’s a variance process already in place through the board of zoning appeals. Some at the meeting said they’ve been dissuaded from filing an appeal in the past.

    Dogan’s guess was that town officials were trying to save petitioners time and money by not going through the variance process, already knowing they didn’t meet the criteria for approval.

    Loris Thompson, president of the plan commission, spoke of his approval for reviewing the sign ordinance, which has been in place since 2000. However, complaints about signs that are tough to see or read, he added, are that way because of design flaws, not zoning restrictions.

    The committee that will study the issue is to have between seven and nine members and be comprised of town officials, board representatives, and residents and business owners. It will report to the plan commission.

    Anyone interested in serving on the committee may e-mail Thompson at tomtommy1@sbcglobal.net. Residents may also send him suggestions on what they’d like to see in the ordinance, as well as specific examples of hindrance caused by current regulations.

    Danville’s zoning ordinance may be found on its website at danvilleindiana.org.

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